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EPISD Student Spotlight: Chris DiDonna, El Paso High

Chris DiDonna HOCOposal
Chris DiDonna HOCOposal

Video of the flight plan Chris DiDonna made to ask his girlfriend to the homecoming dance.

(EL PASO HIGH SCHOOL -- Nov. 1, 2021) — El Paso High senior Chris DiDonna took to the friendly skies to creatively asked his girlfriend to homecoming. The future pilot spelled out HOCO during a practice flight and sent a video of the flight plan to his potential date to the dance. Her answer? An astounding yes! 

When not working on getting his pilot license, the All-District golfer and captain of the golf team, helps with the football team and stays busy with Student Council. Community Engagement spoke to him about his inventive homecoming plans and other topics in this edition of the the EPISD Student Spotlight.

EPISD: Tell us about getting your pilot's license? 

CHRIS DIDONNA: Getting my pilot's license has been an experience like no other. Learning from so many amazing instructors and fellow students has been a big highlight of my time as a student pilot. I have a lot more to learn and I look forward to continuing to further my aviation knowledge and skills 

EPISD: What does it feel like to fly a plane?

CD: It's a hard feeling to describe in words. But it is a feeling like no other. Being a passenger is one thing but having the aircraft in control brings a whole new sense of responsibility and freedom. After being pilot in command one time I was hooked, and I don't think there is anything that comes close to flying a plane. 

EPISD: What do you plan to do with your license?

CD: Once I get my license, I plan on continuing my flight training in college and getting all my ratings and licenses up to Air Transport Pilot. After getting that final license, I hope to find a career flying for a regional airline until I qualify to fly for a major airline.

EPISD: Tell us about how you asked your girlfriend to homecoming?

CD: Well, it was about a week until homecoming and I hadn't figured out a way to ask my girlfriend. My mom said I had to ask her soon since HOCO was coming up and she suggested that I do something flight related. Conveniently, I had a flight the next morning where I would practice flying while only using my instruments. So, I asked my instructor if we could attempt to spell HOCO in the sky.  He said yes and the rest is history. 

EPISD: Where do you plan to go to college and what do you plan to major in? 

CD: I plan to attend Arizona State University and major in their professional pilot degree. 

EPISD: What other activities are you involved in at school? 

CD: I am on the golf team, I help with the football team, and I am a member of student council  

EPISD: How do you balance academics, athletics and learning to fly? 

CD: In truth it has been a challenge for me since I am not the best student, and I had to give up some of the things I love. I had to stop playing football and my parents have been on my case about keeping up with my grades. So, it is thanks to some disciplined time management, and the right support system I have been able to balance all three. 

EPISD: What do you look forward to in your senior year? 

CD: I look forward to getting my pilots license before I graduate and having one more year of football and golf. 

EPISD: What advice would you give incoming freshman? 

CD: The advice I would give freshmen is find you passion and once you do pursue it. With the right mindset it is possible to accomplish great things. 

EPISD: Anything you’d like to add?  

CD: If there are any high school students who want to pursue their pilots license, I say go for it. I am not the only student who is working on or has already gotten their pilots license, so it is possible. Flying is amazing if you have the slightest interest, you should try it out. 

Interview by Reneé de Santos