7th graders conquer drone race

First-place team winners Eli Drake (left) and Rodger Miller (right) pose for a photo with Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette. (Ty Watwood/Cullman County Schools)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Cullman County Schools seventh graders on Friday took part in the second annual Cullman County Drone Race at Wallace State Community College, where they  navigated their drones through various obstacle courses built by Wallace State’s Engineering department.

“We decided that seventh grade is a great time to introduce drone operation because everyone doesn’t have this technology at home. Every seventh grader has access to these drones at their local school,” explained Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette, who said the program began last year after he spoke to different businesses and realized the growing need for drone operators.

The students participate in a curriculum that teaches them about drones and careers for drone operators.

Their piloting and navigation skills were on display as they weaved their drones through the obstacle courses. What made this course different from last year’s was a blind area added to make it more challenging. The two fastest times came down to a sixth of a second difference.

Individual winners

  • Kamikaze Pilot: Xavior Bentley from Holly Pond
  • Fastest Time: Rodger Miller (pilot) and Eli Drake (navigator) with a time of 1:15.1 from Good Hope
  • Ace Pilot (fewest mistakes): James Kilpatrick from Harmony

Team winners

  • First place: Eli Drake and Rodger Miller (Good Hope)
  • Second place: Luke Morris and Troup Bridges (Harmony)

Third place: Camden Kilgo and Eli Moore (Cold Springs)

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