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St. Benedict at Auburndale High School to launch Drone Course

Brandon Turk of Midsouth Aerials tells 8th grade visitors to St. Benedict, from the Drone Command Center, about the new Drone Curriculum.


Brandon Turk of Midsouth Aerials tells 8th grade visitors to St. Benedict, from the Drone Command Center, about the new Drone Curriculum.

 St. Benedict at Auburndale (SBA) High School has been tapped by WozU Education to launch and pilot a customized drone program for high students. WozU Education is a Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-founder, creation.


In this program, students will gain experience in piloting small, aerial vehicles. The course will be taught by current SBA teachers from their STEM Department and Brandon Turk, President of Midsouth Aerials.

“WozU Education is proud to champion its most advanced drone course in the US with St. Benedict, here in Memphis,” says Turk. He says, “as careers in technology advance, WozU Education is excited to partner with great and educationally innovative schools to help prepare our youth for exciting careers.”

The program has been developed with three components to be taught over a semester. It includes 36 hours of on-site instruction with comprehensive lesson plans and materials included.

  1. Students will learn vocabulary surrounding use of personal drones. Every student will take turns piloting drones and acting as Visual Observers to develop good habits for safe flying. At the end of the course, students will verbalize important basic features of drones as well as vocabulary of movement in space. They will gain hands-on experience piloting and spotting for drone missions as part of a team.
  2. In Intro to Soldering, Students will experience working with the primary pieces of equipment that help run the technology. Upon finishing the program, students will have constructed an electronics board with LED lights and an FM radio. Completion of this program is a prerequisite for enrollment in the advanced level “Build Your Own Drone” Program.
  3. Building on the skills of the previous components, students will engage in all functions and aspects of a drone. Each will have the opportunity to build and solder an arm of a drone and student teams will build the drones, fly in obstacle courses challenges and perform skills evaluations.

This course interest was generated by the school’s employment of a drone challenge studio in the library/media center last year (see attached release). Students built small drones on 3-D printers, programmed them and then held obstacle course competitions during their lunch periods. Turk saw media coverage about this and was so impressed that he contacted the school, ultimately formulating an agreement with WozU.

After taking the semester’s course work, students who are 16 and over are eligible to sit for drone licenses.

Assistant Principal and Dean of Academics Dr. Beth Fischer said, “We are exceptionally proud that SBA was chosen to launch this ‘first of a kind’ Drone Course. We give all the credit to our extraordinary faculty and students as they continue to achieve. We are grateful to Brandon Turk of Midsouth Aerials for noticing our accomplishments and contacting us. This program is just another feather in our caps for innovative education in the 21st Century.”

Jan 18, 2019

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