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Zambrzycki soaring to new heights

After basic training, Sacred Heart senior wants to be a pilot

Published: May 28, 2024   
Pete Zambrzycki smiles April 13 while he takes in a practice flight toward his pilot’s license. Zambrzycki, a graduate of Sacred Heart School in Morrilton, plans to join the U.S. Air National Guard and then become a commercial airline pilot flying internationally. (Courtesy Pete Zambrzycki)

Growing up just a few miles from the Morrilton Municipal Airport, Pete Zambrzycki watched in awe as civilian and military aircraft flew overhead. 

“From a very young age, I was always fascinated with airplanes. I always loved learning about them, and I loved learning about military technology. It really piqued my interest,” said the 18-year-old graduate of Sacred Heart School in Morrilton. 

Since childhood, faith and flying have been constants in his life. He can spot the spiritual lessons as he moves toward his career as a pilot. 

“I love the responsibility. It’s making sure what you do is right because it’s your job to safely transport people and being accountable for every person, protecting your passengers,” he said. “A lot of the people I’ll fly I’ll be connecting with other people, for business or seeing family. I take a lot of pride in that as a person and Catholic.” 

Zambrzycki, son of Pete Zambrzycki and Jill Seliskar, attended Sacred Heart since pre-K, growing more as a student thanks to the support of his teachers and classmates. 

“Even though I didn’t start off strong in school until these recent years, I’ve started to pick it up and put in the effort. I’ve learned to love things like math and college algebra. I enjoy problem-solving,” Zambrzycki said. “... I am so unbelievably thankful for Sacred Heart. My teachers have always been there for me. They really taught me I have control over my life and education.” 

Zambrzycki has been active in chess, Beta and Key Clubs. In Key Club, he’s felt the most drawn to his work with veterans. 

“I think being a part of the community and working for the community is very important. I take a lot of pride in helping people, especially the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” he said. “When we put up flags for Memorial Day, it is definitely something that puts things in perspective for me.” 

A sense of pride and duty has inspired Zambrzycki to join the U.S. Air National Guard, serving two days each month and two weeks in the summer. Following basic training, he’ll pursue a bachelor’s degree in an applied science to become a commercial airline pilot flying internationally. 

He’s close to receiving his pilot’s license after obtaining 50 hours of flying two to three times a week since January. 

“It’s an amazing experience, and I love it,” he said of flying. “There’s really no way to describe being thousands of feet above the air and looking down on the earth. You feel very free. I do love taking off and landing. Usually, people enjoy the cruise part of it, but taking off and landing is so exciting because you know what you do has to be right, and there’s little room for error. Every movement and click of a button is precise.” 

No matter how high or far his career takes him, Zambrzycki said he’ll always carry the lessons he’s learned at Sacred Heart. 

“Be kind to the people around you, and you will see results if you work hard are probably the most important lessons I’ll take away from Sacred Heart,” he said.

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