Featured Morning Sun Alum: Samantha Wilkerson

The month of December brings another Alumni of Morning Sun Elementary. This months Alum is Samantha Wilkerson. Samantha’s journey has taken her from Morning Sun Elementary to now all over the world. We hope you enjoy the journey with Samantha.


Name and Current Occupation?

Samantha Wilkerson

Growing up in rural Morning Sun, Iowa, I always found myself looking to the sky.  Every summer, the fields would be sprayed by crop-dusters, and various farmers in the area would be flying around looking at their crops.  My junior year of high school, my parents paid for me to take an introductory flight lesson, and I was hooked!

Since then, I’ve been blessed to fly small single engine and twin-engine propeller aircraft at the Mt. Pleasant airport.  Out of college, I worked airport operations in Rockford Illinois before I got hired as a first officer at American Eagle Airlines. I worked towards becoming a captain, and then a simulator instructor on Embraer jets.  During that time, I traveled to different colleges and flight schools to speak to students about becoming a professional airline pilot. Most recently, I’ve been flying Boeing 737 aircraft for American Airlines. I’ve been able to travel the world, meet famous people, and live in Illinois, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New York, Florida, and California. With that being said, there truly isn’t a place like Morning Sun, Iowa, and its community.


Jeff and Teri Wilkerson

Family (spouse, children, ect.)?

Fiance, Shawn Walker

Brother Chad, Sisters Bobbi & Billi

Which Partner High School did you attend?

Winfield-Mt. Union

High School Activities and Awards:

National Honor Society, Volleyball, Softball, Basketball, Track, Yearbook, Choir, Band, Color Guard, 2nd Team All-State Volleyball, Great River Volleyball Club, River City Juniors Volleyball Club, Ottumwa Heat Softball League, Mt. Pleasant Steam Softball League  

Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Award

International Flying Farmers

Which College did you attend and your major?

University of Dubuque, Double Major: Aviation Management & Flight Operations

College Activities and Awards:

Dean’s List

International Flying Farmers Scholarship

Women in Aviation

Homecoming Queen

Why are you proud of Morning Sun?

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I’m grateful Morning Sun was my village.  The community cares about one another. They reach out when someone gets sick to do fundraisers, bring food over when someone has a baby, and are always there to offer a prayer and a hug.  After living in different cities, it’s refreshing to know that there is still a place where people genuinely care for one another.

What is your favorite Morning Sun memory?

I don’t think I could name just one! During my childhood, my mom worked for the city of Morning Sun. I got to stay in town after school and ride bikes with my friends, which was a huge treat for a “country kid.”  I’ll never forget the water fights after the last day of school, little league softball, and, of course, the 4th of July. Every year, I somehow got roped into doing the grease pig contest, and I actually ended up becoming a 3 time champion!  This has continued to be my favorite holiday because of the sense of community, my memories of running around town with my friends, and seeing that tradition carried on through the years.

Why do you still value your Morning Sun roots?

My parents, teachers, siblings, and friends have made me who I am today. While growing up in Morning Sun, I learned about hard work.  I also learned about valuing friendships that I’m grateful to say I still have after 30 years, which I have found is another rarity. The importance of family and community is deeply rooted in me!


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