School On Base: Pros and Cons

A line of cars waits to enter the southern gate of the Air Force Academy on a December morning.

A line of cars waits to enter the southern gate of the Air Force Academy on a December morning.

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Air Academy High School’s location is unique compared to other Colorado schools: it’s located on a United States Air Force base.

According to Military One Source, AAHS is one of only 160 schools that operate on a military installation across the United States. During the commute to school, students wait in line to pass through the South gate as they prepare to show their military ID, driver’s license or school ID. 

Sometimes, having to go to school on base can be challenging. If students forget their IDs, the officers at the gate will force them to turn around and come back with the appropriate identification. This can be a pain, especially when it’s hard to be on time for class on normal days.

Also, parents of students must also get a DBIDS (Defense Biometric Identification System) card to gain entry onto the base. Once one does travel onto base, they can then identify the good things. 

Carlos Montoya, one of the school’s security officers, stated, “The pros are the beautiful setting out here…I like working at Air Academy because I like the students and I like the feel of the military. The cons are just working like anywhere else; you have to work, so you have to put up with the good and the bad.”

Beyond the windows of Air Academy is the vast towering landscape of the Rocky Mountains. Students and teachers are fortunate to have a closeup view of these geographical monuments like Pikes Peak.

“I like that we are surrounded by forests. I think that this allows us to have fun classes that incorporate our surroundings, like the hiking class,” said English teacher Elise Hatfield.

Although it may not seem like it, but being situated on such a historic site centered around a passion for the United States can spread patriotism. This environment seems to encourage people to appreciate what people in the military do and risk.

Sophomore Jocelyn Ollivierre stated, “Having school on an Air Force base seems like no fun, but actually it’s normal. We never feel unsafe and that is something that most high school students cannot say anymore.”

That feeling of safety is one of the main things people seem to like about going to a public school on base. Having the military constantly surrounding the campus can definitely make both students and staff feel more safe and secure.

Air Academy is not only exposed to national awareness but also global awareness.  The United States Air Force base is known worldwide. Air Academy students are more likely to be exposed to different people and cultures from outside the country. About twenty-three million people visit Colorado Springs each year, and the base and its resources contribute to the attraction.

The Thunderbirds, the Air Force aerial demonstration team, is another interesting component to the base. Every year they put on a thirty-minute show for the new graduates.

Also, the Steelers, a professional football team, sometimes will come to Colorado Springs to practice at the Falcons stadium. The team utilizes Colorado’s high altitude to challenge and strengthen the players’ lungs.

Every high school has aspects that students like and dislike but when going to Air Academy the pros outweigh the cons.