SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- When she's not flying through the air with the Hart High School cheer squad, or flying more than 10,000 feet above ground as a gliding student, 17-year-old Lexie Peltola spends much of her time volunteering at the Los Angeles County Library in Santa Clarita.
"Ever since I was little, I loved reading and I've always been enthralled with books, and the opportunity to be on the teen advisory board was absolutely amazing," Peltola said.
While in kindergarten, Peltola said she struggled learning to read, but after working on her reading skills with her parents, it later became her passion. Now, she organizes unique book events at the Stevenson Ranch Library branch to help encourage other kids to keep at it.
"Find a book that you love. Find a genre that you love," the Hart High student said. "You can read one page a day or you can read one chapter a day. You just have to start."
"I think she has such a great and happy soul," said her father, Jeff Peltola. "She does a lot of things to help people, goes to the library to help kids to learn to read. She accepts responsibility especially with flying to make sure she's safe up there. Everytime she steps out of the plane, I see the biggest smile on her face."
Flying has become Peltola's new passion, and the team at Soaring Academy, where she is a student gliding pilot, says Peltola has the drive and confidence to become a commercial airline pilot.
"When she speaks on the radio she is in command and sounds like a seasoned pilot who knows what she's doing," Julie Bennett, Director of Non-Profit Development at Soaring Academy, said. "Lexie has the aptitude and the right attitude."
Just six percent of all commercial airline pilots are women, according to the Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide. That's a statistic this Cool Kid wants to change. She hopes to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University after graduation, and wants to take the sense of community that she feels with cheering and become a role model for young girls as a commercial pilot.
"There's actually a shortage of pilots and they want female pilots," Peltola said. "There's more opportunity for females to get into the industry and actually have an opportunity to fly, and so I definitely want to be the trailblazer to have more females in the industry."
Cool Kid Lexie Peltola flies high while helping kids learn to read in Santa Clarita