Dick DeVos founded the West Michigan Aviation Academy. The WMAA is a tuition free public charter school located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Aiport in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There is a core curriculum, but the school is customized for students who have an interest in aviation and/or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)
Dick and Betsy DeVos's passion for education and aviation led to the opening of the doors in the fall of 2010. Eighty freshman students were welcomed that first year. The West Michigan Aviation Academy started out in a 25,000 square foot building, but soon the need for expansion was evident.
The school moved to a new home, a 42,500 square foot building, in 2012. This new space allows WMAA to educate up to five hundred students. The larger building allowed for expansion in curriculum, student life and aviation programs. It is here that students are given hands on opportunities to explore and grow their passions for aviation and STEM. It is an institute where respect, trust and accountability are still important character values and are expected.
In 2014, West Michigan Aviation Academy's first commencement ceremony took place. There were 73 graduated in that first senior class. In 2015, that number grew to 83. During those two hears 15 students earned their private pilot license through the Private Pilot Flight School course.
WMAA also offers sports such as cross country, volleyball, soccer and basketball. The National Honor Society has become a tradition at West Michigan Aviation Academy. Volunteering in the community is not only encouraged, it is required. Students must log volunteer hours each year.
Richard M. DeVos Jr. led the formation of West Michigan Aviation Academy. Dick's professional interests are to revitalize Grand Rapids. He is the founder and current president of Windquest Group, and is the co-chair of the Grand Action committee. Mr. DeVos was on the Michigan State Board of Education and even ran for governor in 2006. He focuses on revitalization through education.