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Lake Area Tech hosts drone camp for high school students

Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:11 PM CST
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WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Lake Area Technical College is helping take students’ knowledge to new heights. The school held its first ever drone camp, where South Dakota high schoolers learned to fly and operate the technology.

Lake Area Tech students taught the next generation everything they know about drones, a learning experience they had to make for themselves just a few years ago.

”I had to teach myself everything. There were no resources for it. The nice thing here is the school already has all the equipment, so you don’t have to go out and do that,” said Robotics and Electronics major Ethan Ingram.

Drones are a fairly new technology that is advancing quickly. The drone camp instructors believe it’s valuable to prepare high school students for the future.

”It’s important to teach younger kids about drones due to the new rules and regulations that are coming out, understanding what they can and can’t do, and all the new careers that are coming out,” said Lake Area Drone Instructor Thomas Dunn.

The laws and permits around flying a drone are still being shaped, so a goal of the drone cap was to clarify what drone operators should know.

”I didn’t know about the new FFA rule that you had to be registered for recreational use. I just thought it was if your drone weighed over 250 grams you had to get it registered by the FFA,” said 9th grade student Braxton Jones.

Over 50 high school students from all over South Dakota attended the day-long camp. Instructors believe the opportunities surrounding drones will increase exponentially by the time these campers make it in to their own careers.

“If the opportunity is nuts for me, by the time they get here it’s gonna be crazy,” said Ingram.

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