Students from Crestwood Middle School recently competed in the National Drones in School Competition held at the Xponential Convention on Autonomy Robotics in Denver, Colorado. The three-person team of Landon Girard, Aydin Reynoso and Bensley Metayer received the 2023 Judges’ Choice Award. The team qualified by competing in a simulated race on Velocidrone, where they placed 10th in the nation, qualifying them to compete in person.
At the competition, the team had to fly a real drone through a course as many times as possible within two minutes. The team won one of the races. They also had to compete in another event, Capture the Flag. In this event, the team had to fly over lighted sensors to gain points. The trio also placed fourth in the category of Portfolio and Display.
Their overall efforts won them the Judges’ Choice Award. The team was recognized for their perseverance and hard work, especially because they had difficulties throughout the year flying the actual drone. Reynoso and Girard, who were both pilots, only learned and practiced flying the Tiny Hawk II first person view racing drone one week prior to the competition.
Sponsor and teacher Shelly Jordan is elated with the team’s performance.
“I am super proud of the awards and recognitions that we have received,” she said. “I am even more proud of the boys’ commitment, and I am happy to see them persevere and have an experience such as this one. I am also happy to be a part of something great for students. The boys are all eighth graders and will transition to high school next year. Hopefully, they will use this experience as a steppingstone and continue in this great, new, wide field that has so many opportunities.”
Jordan also thanked Drones in Schools. The organization made it possible for Crestwood to attend the convention. She also thanked Tad Douce as well, because he is responsible for starting the Drones in Schools program. The program’s aim is to get the students involved in flight. Finally, Jordan thanked Florida Power & Light (FPL) for donating a pair of Tiny Hawk II drones to the school, and all of the team’s sponsors who made the trip to Denver possible.