Local Cool School: St. Benedict at Auburndale’s “Drone Studio”

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It’s a STEM program so poplar that students are volunteering their lunch breaks to take part. 

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and is designed to create interest for students in those fields. 

At St. Benedict at Auburndale in Cordova, the recent addition of nine drones and four 3D printers have ignited plenty of interest in the school’s growing STEM curriculum.

“Libraries are more than just your regular books and databases and things like that,” says Lisa DuFur, the media specialist for St. Benedict at Auburndale.

“It was pretty cool to have your own kind of room where you could just talk and collaborate with your friends over something that everyone was excited about,” says St. Benedict at Auburndale freshman Cade Richards.

The SBA Drone Studio is at the heart of that excitement. It really took off after DuFur went to the Apple Learning Academy in Austin, Texas. There she learned about programming drones to perform detailed tasks and movements, also known as coding. DuFur says sharing that concept with the students inspired them to work even harder.

“They figured out a whole lot of it. When they got stuck, I tried to help them a little bit, but I didn’t have to help them much. They figured out most of it by themselves,” says DuFur.

Students admit to the occasional hiccup while working with the drones, but also say they are learning to work together and some are even learning about career paths for life after school.

“I was never really interesting in the stem program before, but especially with the coding, it’s opened my eyes to a lot of fields that I was not previously aware of,” says St. Benedict at Auburndale junior Abby Simpson.

The school’s next project is to create a mentor program where students would be able to teach each other and even their teachers about the latest in technology.

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