As part of Catholic Schools Week, St. Jerome School in Westchester hosted guest speaker Claude Davis, a member of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen and one of the first African-American pilots in the U.S.

Davis spoke to middle school students Wednesday, January 31st, about how to be successful in life, how to overcome the challenges they may face and the importance of self-esteem and moral character, according to vice principal Rick Billups.

He also stressed the importance of loyalty, hard work, perseverance in the face of discrimination and respecting, following and understanding rules, Billups said.

“Students were inspired by Mr. Davis’s stories of training for combat and the important role God played in keeping him focused and inspired,” said Billups. “They were impressed by his stories of near-death experiences in his plane, the differences between the propeller-powered B-2 bombers he flew in the 1940s and today’s jet-powered fighters and his unwillingness to be kept out of an all-white officer’s club when he himself was a commissioned officer.”

Davis was awarded a plaque on behalf of St. Jerome School by student council president Michael Padilla.

Davis will travel to Washington, D.C. in March to receive a Congressional Gold Medal.