Drone club enables Phoenix students to take learning to new heights

Members of the John C. Birdlebough High School Drone Club practice their piloting skills in the gymnasium. The new club aims to prepare students for a potential future as a drone pilot.

PHOENIX - The Phoenix Central School District is encouraging students to take their learning to new heights this year through its high school drone club.

Under the leadership of technology teacher Doug Zogg and library media specialist Chelsea Powell, nine club members meet once a week to hone their flying and problem-solving skills. The students gather in the John C. Birdlebough High School gymnasium to practice flying the crafts and develop the skills needed to become a successful drone operator.

“The end goal of the club is to prepare students to take the drone pilot exam when they graduate high school,” Powell said. “There is a high demand for more drone pilots in the workforce. This growing career services jobs in aerial photography/video, surveying/mapping, real estate, construction, agriculture and more. If we can prepare our students for this career now, they can take the pilot exam as soon as they graduate and walk into an excellent job.”

In addition to sparking an interest in a possible career, Powell said club members also gain soft skills that will be beneficial in the future. Students learn teamwork and responsibility while operating and troubleshooting the drones, Powell said.

“At first, students may think drone club is just for fun and isn’t something they would typically associate with school,” Powell said. “But it’s much more than that; onlookers think it’s really cool when we pull out our flying obstacles and the drones start skillfully buzzing around.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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