1st Officer at Continential

Educated at New Community, Student Becomes 1st Officer of Continental Airlines

The most important gift we can give our children is the gift of faith in God and faith in oneself. We give the gift of education, access, and opportunity in order to achieve this. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Chrystal Dunbar, who received her start in life at St. Rose of Lima School in Newark. As a toddler in her stroller, Chrystal would always look up at the sky, point, and gleefully shout “Airplane!” when she saw a plane. Today, she is a First Officer with United Airlines and is living her dream of piloting an airplane. Thanks to her mother’s foresight and many sacrifices, a seed was planted and Chrystal was encouraged to explore her love of flying—which ultimately resulted in her choosing a career in aviation. Before Chrystal ever imagined piloting 757s internationally, she was guided and supported by her friends and family, and by a community that was determined to see her succeed.

While a student at St. Rose, Chrystal joined the Eagle Flight Squadron in East Orange, where she received basic flight instruction, career guidance, and mentoring. Chrystal and her mother would often travel by bus to Newark Airport on the weekends to simply watch the planes land and take off. Chrystal went on to Newark’s Science High School and, at the age of 18, became a licensed pilot of the Eagle Flight Squadron, achieving over 1,600 hours of flight instruction through the program. Following high school, Chrystal attended Daniel Webster College in Nashua, New Hampshire, where she received a Bachelors of Science degree in Aviation Management and Flight Operations.

Chrystal, who aspires to be a captain, offers powerful proof of how a caring community can make a profound difference in someone’s life. She credits her years at St. Rose of Lima School with helping to provide her with the solid foundation needed to embark on her life’s journey. “Starting in Kindergarten and ending in the 8th grade, the things I learned, the excellent support structure, and the dedication of the teachers and principal helped shape me into the person I am today,” she told me.

Everyone at New Community is proud of Chrystal and we celebrate her many accomplishments. Her success is owed in part to the great support, encouragement, and guidance she received from those that shaped her childhood and development.