Students at Wadena-Deer Creek High School will have the opportunity to work toward becoming certified drone pilots with the help of eighth-grade science teacher Brad Wollum.

"The course's objective is to expose students to the growing unmanned aircraft systems industry," Wollum said. "The curriculum provider of this course is one of the best in the country and has partnered with W-DC to expand their operations."

The course content will include topics such as the history of aviation, weather events and reporting, geographic information systems, information technology, principles of flight, Federal Aviation Administration rules and interpretations.

At the end of the course, students will be equipped with the skills to become Part 107 certified, according to Wollum.

"This means that upon completion of the course and the FAA knowledge test, students will have their Remote Pilot license," Wollum said. "Having this license is much different than being a hobbyist. With a license, students could potentially start their own business or work for a company doing a variety of services."

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The course at W-DC will be offered as an independent study for any student over 16 years old.

One unique thing that goes with this course is that W-DC has its own drone and virtual reality goggles from the Bruce Vento Science Education Grant and the Walter Goedel Foundation Grant. This will provide students the opportunity to complete coursework for their FAA knowledge test and log flight hours with the school’s drone using the latest technology.

"Even if students have no interest in aviation, they will certainly enjoy the hands-on experience of this course," Wollum said.

W-DC will be the first school in the Upper Midwest to offer this curriculum and to Wollum's knowledge, only the second school outside of the Twin Cities metro area to offer such a program.

"With W-DC's close proximity to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, students would have ample opportunity to be more prepared than their peers if pursuing a degree in anything aviation related," Wollum said.

If a W-DC student (16 years old and older) is interested in taking this course, contact Wollum at 218-632-2327 or bwollum@wdc2155.k12.mn.us. Parents may also call Wollum if they have any questions.