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Middle schools face off in drone competition at Grady High School

Grady High School in Atlanta will host the third annual Drones for Good competition on March 25.

Twenty-seven Atlanta-area middle schools will participate in the event, some sending multiple teams. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the high school’s gymnasium. The event is free and open to the public with free parking available off of 8th Street and 10th Street.

The middle school students will bring drones they designed, built and programmed. During the competition, the students must fly their drones between poles, land on podiums, navigate an L-shaped tunnel and pass through a swinging hoop. Additionally, they must present ways drones can help their communities.

“What's better than kids genuinely having fun with hands-on science?” said Karen Judd, a state committee member for GeorgiaFIRST Robotics.

The competition is the result of three high school students’ desire to get middle school students more involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The students had just won two awards at a national drone competition in Oregon when they approached their mentor, Gardner Chambliss with the idea of starting a competition.

“It was their idea. They came up with it, and it worked,” Chambliss said.

The students, now in college, will serve as judges of this year’s competition. The competition began with just five competitors in 2015, but this year’s field includes 34 teams.

Watch the video below to see footage of last year’s competition:

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