Watkins also grew up with a knowledge of aviation because of her father. Because of her father and his friends, she said, she knows that it’s a fun career.
“You never want to get into a job that feels like work,” she said. “And this is something that would never feel like a job, which is what really drew me to it.”
She admits to not really liking school, but has enjoyed her first week in the aviation program. She said it has captured her attention, unlike other traditional schooling.
Wiese said the program got its start after he pitched it to administration, and coincidentally, someone from the Unmanned Safety School approached an administrator. Wiese and fellow Gering High School teacher Brett Moser received their drone pilot certification over the summer, as part of the steps before getting the program going.
Among the programs that Wiese could find though, Gering’s will be unique as the pilot to maintenance offerings are not found in any other program. School officials will work with WNCC for students to get some exposure in that area “and if it can inspire kids to graduate and go down that pathway, it’s an awesome opportunity.”
School officials expect the program to continue to evolve and improve as more connections, like the WNCC partnership, are made through the years. When Wiese talks to others in aviation in the area, he said, “they’re really excited for what we’re doing.” When he tells them how many students are signed up, he said, “they’re pretty shocked.”