Almost 300 students signed up for courses during the vocational school’s annual camp for students in grades 4-9. Most courses have an emphasis in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math).
Two of the courses, about drones and public safety, are new this year.
On Friday, students navigated drones through an obstacle course using virtual reality technology. Throughout the week, they discovered how to program the drones’ movements. At one point in the week, a claw was added to the drones so they could pick up items, similar to how Amazon claims they’ll make deliveries.
“We wanted to give them a challenge with the drones for hands-on learning,” EHOVE assistant director Matt Ehrhardt said.
Though experienced in using drones at home, Norwalk sixth-grader Aldynn Metzger was intrigued by the new drone course. His best obstacle course time was 30 seconds and he hopes to use drones in a future job.
Nearby, students took turns outside using fire extinguishers to put out a diesel fire in the public safety course. They noticed how water won’t extinguish flames with a diesel or grease fire. The course needed two sessions, with almost 30 students showing interest.
Earlier in the week, students learned how to stop bleeding, simulated how to put out a fire in EHOVE’s burn tower used for training purposes, among other firefighting basics, said Jeff Mason, a retired Perkins Township firefighter who taught the course.
Ehrhardt explained why EHOVE added the drone and public safety courses.
“We wanted to increase interest in public safety and let them see if this is something they want to do,” he said. “It’s all about exposure. Here, kids experience what they’ve never experienced before.”
More girls enrolled in summer camp courses this year, too, including four girls in a welding course.
“The word’s getting out about these programs,” he said. “(Girls are) becoming more interested in careers mostly held by men.”