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Scappoose woman reaches for the sky with her feet on the ground

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She said she was looking for something that would get her out of bed every morning at 5:30 a.m.; something that would always leave her asking for more. She wanted a career that was complex and consuming. Naturally, she chose aviation maintenance.

“I was home-schooled by a single mom who always had at least two jobs,” said April Long, a resident of Scappoose. “She was a health care provider and I suppose she would have liked me to follow that path, but it didn’t appeal to me. I had been in customer service for 15 years in general retail, but I always wanted to be out in the field making things happen. I wanted to be challenged by working in a professional environment.”

Long finished the aviation maintenance core courses in July and will work on her elective courses between now and her degree completion date in December.

Long finished the aviation maintenance core courses in July and will work on her elective courses between now and her degree completion date in December.

Long earned her GED in 2010 at the age of 29. That’s when she became somewhat familiar with Portland Community College. Walking to math class one day, she stopped by a display that featured both welding and aviation maintenance information. For that moment, she was “aggressively interested in the aviation program.”

Because Long was home-schooled, she said her first challenge was to learn how to learn. Sitting in a classroom with discussions facilitated by a teacher was new. Having classmates was new. Being surrounded by other students, mostly men, was new.

“It was a great challenge,” she said. “The camaraderie and the team-building were amazing. Dealing with small-group dynamics was frustrating. Add to that the day to day cramming of large amounts of technical information. Learning in that environment is like taking a sip from a fire hose. It was intense.”

For many students focused on a technology degree, there comes a moment when the lights blaze on and the future comes into sharp focus. For Long it came in her “Assembly and Rigging” class, which is her first introduction to hands-on learning.

“I call this my arts-and-crafts class,” she said. “It became really tactile and kinesthetic. Until that class, I had earned OK grades, but when I started working with my hands, I understood the theoretical concepts better. The assemblies came together. The thoughts came together. It was my aha moment.”

Long finished the aviation maintenance core courses in July and will work on her elective courses between now and her degree completion date in December. But beginning in late August, she will work as a paid intern on an assembly line at the Boeing plant in Gresham. She is one of 12 PCC students accepted into the program.

“My career goal is to work for Boeing and become an innovator and a visionary,” Long added. “Boeing is committed to professional development and that’s where I’ll continue to improve my skills and challenge myself. The internship is where it starts for me. I’m a slow starter and a strong finisher.”

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x by Rachel Kachun 3 years ago

Just wondering why the negative reflection on homeschooling? It says that because Long was home-schooled, she had to learn how to learn? People who are homeschooling actually excel in college more than students who enter college from public schools, where they usually have to take remedial classes before they can even begin their chosen degree programs. That said, don’t dis homeschooling!


x by April 3 years ago

Rachel, there is no disrespect meant in my argument concerning homeschooling. With that said, I am an excellent student with high grades to reflect it. What I meant was that there is a great difference between self teaching and learning in a structured environment. Thus, I had to re-learn how to learn.

Everyone’s academic experience is personal and different. It is never accurate to assume a blanket assessment about anyone for one particular aspect of their life.

x by Tim 3 years ago

There’s an incredibly broad spectrum to the homeschool experience. Generalizations about either the public or homeschool experience at large should be avoided.

x by LadyZombie_SassyPants 3 years ago

Way to rock it April! I applaud you for finding a passion and going for it. I can’t wait to see how high in the sky you reach!

x by Rachel Kachun 3 years ago

EXACTLY! Generalizations should not be made about homeschooling, as was done in the article. Your statement “Because Long was home-schooled, she said her first challenge was to learn how to learn.” that is a generalization, therefore, I could only assume that you meant homeschooling is a bad thing (in general). You didn’t reference her personal experience with homeschooling. Furthermore, from my experience with homeschooling, the student is not self taught, there is a lot of direction from the adult in charge, learning coach, or what ever you want to call it.

x by April 3 years ago

Rachel- who’s experience is featured in this article?

x by April 3 years ago

LadyZombie- thank you for the supportive feedback. I appreciate that you are able to see the positive light in which my story was written. When we are able to focus on our accomplishments and even our setbacks as leaning opportunities, we grow and succeed.

x by Michael 3 years ago

Congratulations April on getting the internship. Boeing will give you great opportunities to learn and grow. I have a friend who was hire on to Boeing as a A.P. mechanic and now he is a safety control designer. He writes the safety manuals the mechanics use. He also told me, that at the beginning he didn’t see himself in his current position. Boeing however saw other skills in him and provided the training. April you have the talent to move anywhere you want at Boeing.

x by Michelle 3 years ago

congrats! on the intern spot!! My mom went back to school after all us kids left home and Boeing came and hired her before her graduated!! she worked there for 15 years. she loved it. I hope you are able to get on full time after the intern is over. sounds like you are doing great!

x by Rachel Kachun 3 years ago

The article doesn’t specifically say that it is one person’s experience. It was a very generalized statement. Had the article clarified that it was one person’s experience, my reaction would have been different, or more accurately, I would have had no reaction at all.

x by April 3 years ago

Rachel- suffice it to say this article is written with the purpose of highlighting my personal experiences. To further clarify your confusion, I make no negative connotations toward homeschooling, I merely describe my particular perspective on the differences between homeschooling and structured academic learning, based on MY OWN experience with both fields. There are no generalizations of either format.

x by April 3 years ago

Michelle and Michael- thank you so much for the encouragement! I really enjoy reading the success stories of your friends and family. That also reflects well on Boeing. Your words of encouragement are greatly appreciated as well. Only a few days into the internship and I’m already looking forward to getting to work in the morning. It’s such an amazing feeling!

x by Ken 3 years ago

How could you possibly have derived from this article the experiences would be anyone other than April’s?
The subject of the article is her and her accomplishments.
The only generalization I can see is in your comments and lack of basic reading comprehension.

x by Ken 3 years ago

Congratulations again!

x by bob f. 3 years ago

Congrats April! Best of luck going forward!


x by Chrissy Randall 3 years ago


Congratulations on all of your accomplishments! I am so happy to have you recognized for your great work and showing other women that they too have a wide range of career choices. I Can’t wait to see you walk across that stage!


x by Marshall Pryor 3 years ago

Thanks, April, for representing the AMT program so well. Say hi to the rest of the crew at Boeing this summer. Stay in touch.

x by Kelly 3 years ago

This article is about one person’s experience and success, there is absolutely nothing wrong with April sharing -her- experience as a woman who was homeschooled before going to college. Perhaps you missed that April’s last name is Long and it was clearly stated as her experience? Back to what is important here, congratulations on your intership spot April! When you have finished your AMT program have you thought of guest speaking about your job to kindergartners?


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