RYPSA Drone Academy Graduation

Ruby Young Drone Academy Celebrates First Graduates!
Posted on 03/11/2022
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Thirteen Ruby Young Personalized STEAM Academy (RYPSA) students received certificates of completion for successfully passing the first courses of instruction in the RYPSA Drone Academy.  

RYPSA Principal Noel Greenwood worked with DeSoto Police Chief Joe Costa to build a partnership to develop a drone class for students interested in learning more about this evolving industry.  Drones are unmanned aircraft, more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

According to BusinessInsider.com, the drone services market size is expected to grow to $63.6 billion by 2025.

Sergeant Mike Edwards, Drone Commander for the DeSoto Police Department’s UAS Response Team and Ruby Young teacher Edwaurdo King joined forces to work with interested students and prepare them for the first phase of testing. The academy included one-hour, interactive, after-school sessions beginning in October, and was free to RYPSA students who joined.

The DeSoto Police Department’s UAS Response Team consists of certified FAA Part 107 licensed pilots. Knowing the importance of the combination of community interaction and teaching this technology, Officers Patrick Krekel, Victoria Grubb, Luis Morales and Detective Eric Montemayor dedicated their time and expertise to assist the students.

“These students are the future of this country and drone technology is a gateway into a vast world of many fields like GPS, infrared, laser, aviation, forensics, health care, engineering, aerospace and so much more,” Sgt. Edwards explained.  “It is imperative that we get them engaged early to prepare them and pave the way for their future as well as ours!”.

The following students completed 5-hour interactive minimum standards course designed to provide basic knowledge and fundamentals about drones and FAA regulations, and were awarded certificates of completion:

Dylan Dickerson

Chase Dansby

Daniya Gray

Laela Ashby

Jaylenn Hawthorne

Marvel Williams

Eric Aranda

Cortland Brooks

Elijah Harris

Juan Plata

In addition to certificates, the highest scoring students also received their own personal drones!  

Those students are: 

Fernanda Castaneda

Quintin Webb

Leila Mendoza 

Eighth grader Leila Mendoza scored 100% on the exam!  She also expressed a strong passion for working with drones and an interest in joining the military, either navy or air force, and later becoming a police officer.  She plans to join the JROTC in High School. Sgt. Edwards, a 23-year navy veteran, shared advice and encouragement, noting that his spouse was currently serving in the Air Force.

Proud parents and staff were on hand to witness the graduation ceremony followed by an outdoor demonstration.  Enthusiastic expressions of support and questions to instructors were heard throughout the campus courtyard.

Leila Mendoza’s parents were naturally excited about her accomplishment.  Her mother, Samantha, explained “I’m very proud of Leila! When she has something in her mind, she goes all the way through it, she always excels in what she puts her mind to.  I’m just one proud Mom!”

Leila’s dad, Tallen Contreras, echoed, “We’re very proud that Leila has taken an active interest in her future! This is definitely something she can take with her as she grows.”

The RYPSA Drone academy will continue to the next phases. Interested students and parents should contact the campus office for information on how to register.