Premier High School in Texarkana, Texas adapted a Drone Program for students interested in graduating not only with their diploma but with a certified license for drone operation. The program began in 2021 when teacher Ms. Michelle Denoon piloted the program. Alongside her students, she was able to test for her own license at the end of her first year of teaching the program. Students have the opportunity to complete the Drone Course or Drone Pilot Ground School while in attendance of Premier High School leaving them with the opportunity to graduate not only with their diploma but with a license that can provide financially for them in the future.
“When the program began I had zero experience with drones. But as time went on I was able to work with the students during the course and gain experience. With our program we are able to practice outside at our campus. We have also asked several local businesses to allow our students to gain experience by doing freelance work for them. Through this program our students, who are college and career oriented, have an opportunity to make financial moves after graduation upon testing for their license. Students can also get paid to do a number of jobs with their licenses once they pass their test,” said Denoon.
Last year Premier High School had 14 students in the drone program, this year they have 12, and 3 of them have their license so far. “The test for the drone license can be extremely difficult. Our students have two attempts to take the test while they are here at Premier. The course and their two test attempts are completely paid for by Premier High School, allowing our students to have this opportunity without the financial burden,” said Denoon. Students are able to travel with Denoon to Shreveport to take their test while touring the FAA facility, while also having the opportunity to experience their simulators on site.
Premier Student Lane Phibbs has been in the drone program all year long, and is hopeful that once he graduates he can join the Navy and become a UAV operator. “I will be graduating hopefully in September after taking summer courses so that I can eventually join the military and do something with my drone license. I think it will be awesome being able to go into the navy with this license, so that I can sort of skip ahead of others that don’t have it,” said Phibbs.
Austin Reedy (17) is one of three students who have already obtained their license. “I have been looking around town asking businesses if they would let me do some work for them with my own drone, so I can get as much practice in as possible, while making a little money. In the future I hope to do work with aeronautics and robotics. It’s my hope that I can work with the more technological side of drone work since it’s become something that I enjoy and would love to continue to work with in the future,” said Reedy.
Premier High School opened their doors in 2016 to the Texarkana community and are dedicated to helping all types of students achieve their diploma goals. Their mission: “To provide hope for students through a caring mastery-based, blended learning educational option that promotes a free society and cultivates moral and academic excellence.” If you are interested in more information about Premier High School you can visit their website HERE. Premier High School of Texarkana, Texas is located at 3448 Summerhill Rd. If you or your local business would like to help the Premier High School Drone Students practice with your own footage for personal or professional use you can contact Premier High School and speak with Ms. Denoon at 430-200-4385.