Cross Creek students learn drone fundamentals through pathway program
RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WFXG) -CROSS CREEK HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS have the opportunity to TAP INTO THE DRONE INDUSTRY, at an EARLY age, with a PATHWAY PROGRAM.
cross creek high school, aviation instructor, DENNIS MERRION says it's an opportunity that YOU CAN’T REPLICATE IN THE CLASSROOM. IT’S CALLED A CAREER, TECHNICAL AND AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION PATHWAY. through it, STUDENTS LEARN TO FLY DRONES and bY COMPLETING it, EARN A COMMERCiAL LICENSE TO PILOT UNMANNED AIRCRAFTS. “I REALLY THINK IT’S SOMETHING JUST DIFFERENT, vERSUS JUST SITTING IN THE CLASSROOM ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, LOOKING AT POWERPOINT SLIDEs TO GET HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE," merrion says. "YOU KNOW WE LOOK AT IT AS A TOY...BUT, NOW THEY CAN LOOK AT IT AS A TOY, PLUS THIS COULD ACTUALLY BE MY FUTURE JOB.” HE DIDN’T HAVE COURSES in school LIKE THIS GROWING UP. SO, he says that allowing his students to explore DIFFERENT SKILLS AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IS CRITICAL.
Although, the drone license, (part 107) can be obtained in around a year, tHE PROGRAM IS LAID OUT OVER A three YEAR TIME SPAN to ensure they understand the proper rules and regulations.
merrion says the course is split into 2 LEVELS, a lower level, catered towards underclassmen and a higher level for upperclassmen. the beginner STUDENTS FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS. they practice with small, tello drones, FLYING THROUGH OBSTAClE COURSES TO LEARN BASICS LIKE LIFTS AND MOVING FORWARD AND BACKWARDS. on the other hand, ADVANCED STUDENTS WORK WITH HIGHER LEVEL DRONES, HONING THEIR SKILLS IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY.
MERRION SAYS THE PROGRAM HAS DOUBLED IN STUDENTS SINCE IT WAS ESTABLISHED in early 2021.
AUTUMN MARSHALL is an 11th grader at cross creek high school. she says THat the HIGHLIGHT for her WAS the opportunity for INSTRUCTION WITH AN ACTUAL PILOT AND getting TO RIDE IN HIS PLANE. “HE STARTED TALKING ABOUT EVENTS, WHAT WE COULD DO, HOW IT COULD AFFECT OUR LIVES AND HOW IT COULD HELP US GO TO COLLEGE TOO, says marshall." "I WENT TO ONE OF HIS EVENTS THAT HE HAD THAT YEAR THAT ACTUALLY CHANGED MY LIFE A LOT AND I ACTUALLY REALLY ENJOYED IT.”
THE HIGH SCHOOL PARTNERS WITH AUGUSTA REGIONAL AIRPORT AND AIRCRAFT OWNERS AND PILOTS ASSOCIATION TO HELP MAKE IT ALL POSSIBLE. IN ADDITION TO learning the FUNDAMENTALS OF AVIATION, are exposed to THE MANY INDUSTRIES SEEKING COMMERCIAL drone PILOTS. “HONESTLY, SOME OF THE THINGS that I’M CONSIDERING NOW IS AIRPLANE MECHANICS, I’M CONSIDERING ALSO BECOMING A FLIGHT ATTENDANT OR A PILOT MYSELF." marshall explains that the option to DO DRONE work AS A HOBBY OR A SIDE JOB, TO MAKE A LITTLE EXTRA CASH, appeals to her greatly as well.
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