Girard students complete drone class

Learning to fly

GIRARD — Fifty students, including several graduating seniors, completed a new cinematography class offered at Girard High School.

Ashraf Hadi, engineering teacher, and Jamie Williams, fine arts teacher, co-taught the new course which is offered as a half-year credit class with plans to continue it for the 2019-20 year.

The class, which is a fine arts elective, was started as both Hadi and Williams have their own drones and met with a professor at Kent State University who teaches a similar drone program about what the class would involve at the high school level.

“We were informed what we should cover in the class,” Hadi said.

Hadi said since the students have completed the class, they will be able to take a test to become certified in flying drones. He said it will be up to each student to study for the test.

Williams, who covers the cinematography and videography part of the class, said a lot of the learning was on aerial mapping.

Nathan Moore, a junior, said he learned how to build a drone properly and how with teamwork, he and other students could build and program a drone.

Moore said he will use the skill in the future.

“It will be cool to get my own drone and be certified to fly it. You can get paid to take photos and videos,” he said.

Hadi said the hardest part was being able to read the maps and the different zones and areas where drones can fly. He said when flying they would need to alert five local airports, including private airports and the emergency helicopters that are at two area hospitals

He said the students were able to work with different-sized and style drones and take videos. Hadi said some drones could be programmed through cellphones. The other drones were able to get panoramic views of a grid of the school property,

“We had different groups with each responsible for a quadrant of the school.”

Some of the drones the students assembled were from kits, Hadi said.

“They were fortunate to be able to experience different types of drones to fly,” he said.

Kali Tinkey, 17, a senior, and Bailey McDermott, 18, a senior, said they were glad they took the class. They said they plan to use the skills in some way in the future.

While Tinkey plans to study to become a vet technician, and Bailey will study deaf education, they may want to have the drone-flying skill for a hobby or side job.

“They see the technology that is involved with drones. They learned that if you do anything where money is involved with drones, you have to be licensed,” Williams said.

Williams said he and Hadi have both been drone enthusiasts.

“We are excited the program has evolved and was popular with students. Many students said they plan to take a test to be certified to fly the drones.They see the different ways to use the drone and have learned about air space when flying a drone,” he said.

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