GIRARD — Drones have been flying outside and inside Girard High School as part of a new aerial cinematography class offered this school year.
Ashraf Hadi, technology teacher, and Jamie Williams, art teacher, co-teach the new class, which is offered to students in grades ninth to 12th as a half-year semester credit course.
“We are learning as we teach the class. The students were very excited to take part in this. The program gets them introduced to drones,” Hadi said.
An unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Drones are a component of an unmanned aircraft system, which includes a UAV, a ground-based controller and a system of communication between the two.
For the first semester, 22 students have enrolled and will earn a general elective credit toward graduation.
Hadi said Girard High School alumni who had taken technology, robotics and art classes suggested such a course be offered.
Williams said one aspect of the class is that drones are programmed to take pictures as they are flown in the air.
He said students are learning about building, programming and flying different sizes and styles of drones. Drones are built from kits with students becoming familiar with the different parts of a drone.
“They have spent several weeks building and programming the drones and have been able to fly them, Hadi said, noting warmer weather allows for going outside.
In addition to constructing them, students are learning the rules and regulations of drone laws.
“We wanted to give the students all the information that they would need to go out and get certified to fly drones,” Hadi said.
Williams and Hadi, who each have their own drones, said drones are the “wave of the future” and are used in journalism, construction and law enforcement.
“Drones are used in many career fields,” Hadi said.
Ellie Maurice, 15, a sophomore, said she is part of the school’s FIRST Robotics team and is involved with building robots.
“Drones are similar to what I am doing in robotics. My brother built a drone, which really got me interested in taking this class.” she said.
Maurice said she is learning a lot of new terminology that goes with drones and flying them.
She is looking at obtaining a drone pilot license.
Adam Smith, 17, a senior, said he is interested in the technology of drones.
“It is a fun class. You learn a lot of what you can do with a drone. I enjoy getting to fly the drones,” Smith said.
He said he is interested in a career with piloting a commercial drone.
Alex DelGarbino, 17, a junior, said when he learned the class would be offered, he wanted to take part.
“The class gives you a unique chance to build and fly drones,’ said Jacob Brazil, 16, a junior.
Hadi said there has been some interest from students in possibly forming a league with drones.
He said the Liberty Local School District also offers a drone class.