Genoa Drone Racing Program funded through OCCF grant

Press Staff Writer

The Genoa Area High School Technology Staff was eager to try a new venture this school year – drone racing.
Thanks to a grant request to the Ottawa County Community Foundation (OCCF) prepared by the Genoa Academic Committee, the OCCF awarded funds to initiate the Drone Racing Pilot Program. Under the direction of Matt Hirt, club advisor and teacher in the Business/Technology Department at Genoa Area High School, the program reached 14 high school students in the Emerging Technologies course.
“I think that the kids have learned a great deal when it comes to teamwork and figuring out how to solve specific problems,” Hirt said. “Some students are better working with the drone itself, while others have been successful in programming the headset or transmitters. The students have done a good job in deciding what role works best for them and the team.”
The program has given students a chance to develop skills in technology, engineering, teamwork, creativity and communication. Students learned about building, flying and maintaining a racing fleet of drones. To showcase their skills, the Drone Racing Team participated in interschool races during the second half of the school year.
During a competition, teams were challenged to maneuver their custom FPV (first person view) drones through, around, under, and over obstacles and complete two laps. The teams, which included the Boogaloosters, Twisted Metal and Bantam Jets, recently completed their inaugural season.
“We are happy with our final standings,” said team member Matthew Robinson. “Despite various technical difficulties, new equipment, and tough competition, we surely cemented our standings as a fierce competitor in the drone racing world.”
OCCF awards grants to local nonprofit agencies and organizations. Grant applications for 2019 are currently being reviewed. Successful applicants will be announced at the Grant Awards Breakfast in June.
The Ottawa County Community Foundation is a public charitable organization created in 1999 by the citizens of our community to improve the quality of life for those who live, work or visit in the Ottawa County area. To learn more about the foundation or how to start a named fund or scholarship, visit


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