HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Ke Kula Kaiapuni O Anuenue School, nine high school students fan out across the school’s playground to fly a drone.
They’re taking a hands-on course on flying unmanned aerial systems.
“Not everyone gets to learn how to be a real, registered drone pilot,” 10th grader Kauhi Yim said.
The curriculum is one-of-a-kind. Drone company KoleaGold LLC created the course and conducts it all using the Hawaiian language.
"The whole idea is taking something from the future and something from the past and bridging it together," company vice president Maika Motas said.
As a youngster, Motas attended Anuenue, a Hawaiian language immersion school.
Motas and company President Kainoa Jimenez designed the course for high school students.
"It covers the basics of rules, operations and regulations. By the end of the year they'll have enough knowledge to take the Part 107 test," Jimenez said.
The license authorizes the holder to fly a drone.
KoleaGold and Anuenue are partnering on a three-year pilot program.
"Teaching this class in Hawaiian will bring out more Hawaiians to come and maybe learn about drones in their own language," student Kaili Makua said.
He wants to be a drone pilot when he graduates.
"As Native Hawaiians we want to encourage them to believe in something that they are doing," Motas said.
The course is equal parts classroom instruction and flight time. Classes are held twice a week.
"We're looking to get it to be a full-blown curriculum course, a core class instead of an elective class," Jimenez said.
KoleaGold hopes to branch out into other Hawaiian language immereion schools and eventually into schools throughout the Department of Education system.
“We can definitely translate it into English. We first wrote it in English,” Motas said.