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Father-Son Duos Come Full Circle with Southwest’s Adopt-A-Pilot Program


At Southwest Airlines, we love to inspire future generations to succeed and one of the many ways we do that is through our Adopt-A-Pilot program. Since 1997, our Pilots have dedicated their own time to help students define, articulate, and plan for future success; all while enjoying fun-filled lessons! While the purpose of Adopt-A-Pilot is to inspire children to become whatever they want to be, it’s even more special to learn that former Adopt-A-Pilot children have grown up to work in aviation!


Atif and Adam FareedAtif and Adam Fareed

Atif Fareed and Al Shawcross are both Southwest Airlines Pilots who volunteer as Adopt-A-Pilot Ambassadors. Atif and Al were both “adopted” by their sons’ elementary school classrooms to help teach and mentor young students. Atif taught his son Adam’s third and fifth-grade class at Tuskawilla Montessori, and Adam’s enthusiasm over the program convinced Atif that all students deserve to be inspired by these STEM lessons. Seeing the passion these students had inspired Atif to continue volunteering for Adopt-A-Pilot year after year.


Adam recalls always admiring his father, but it wasn’t until his father came to his class that he was inspired to become a Pilot. Now, years after his Adopt-A-Pilot lessons, Adam is officially a Pilot based out of Washington D.C. working for Trans States Airline, a United Express affiliate.  Adam and Atif even had the opportunity to conduct an Adopt-A-Pilot program together at Leaders Preparatory School.


 Adam shared, “the feeling of giving back to students is rewarding, and I hope my story can inspire students to reach new heights.”


Al and Tim ShawcrossAl and Tim ShawcrossAl and his son, Tim, have a similar story to the Fareed family. Al had only been a part of the Adopt-A-Pilot program for one year before setting foot in Tim’s fifth-grade classroom. After seeing the excitement and aspiration in the student’s eyes, Al continued to teach that same fifth grade class year after year. Tim always loved flying and felt free when airborne, but the idea of a career as a Pilot was brought to life only after his father’s Adopt-A-Pilot lessons. Tim used his Adopt-A-Pilot inspiration to start a career in aviation and is now a First Officer for SkyWest Airlines. For the last two years, Al and Tim have been teaching the same fifth-grade class together and continue to inspire students as a father-son duo!


Since the Adopt-A-Pilot program started, countless students have been inspired to pursue their dreams both inside and outside of aviation. As we celebrate Father’s Day, it’s incredibly special to see how Atif and Al have come full circle and now carry on the Adopt-A-Pilot legacy with their Pilot sons.