LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — Keeping his eye on the sky, Matthew Smallwood learned to fly a drone during his class at Laurens District 55 High School.

“I am very excited about it,” said Smallwood.

Smallwood is one of 30 Junior Office Reserve Training Corps {JROTC) students taking part in the school’s new Drone Flight Academy.

The district partnered with the company AI Nautics to host the course. The class meets once a week for a semester. They learn about different rules and regulations that drone pilots must follow, and they test out several commercial drones.

“Through this class, we will teach students how to integrate drones into their daily lives,” explained Taz Little, the Co-Founder and Director of Operations of AI Nautics. “For instance, we’ll show them how to do roof inspections, real estate and anything drones are currently used for. We’ll provide real-world scenarios for them.”

At the end of the semester, students take a test to become a licensed drone pilot.

“It’s going to open up a lot of doors,” said Smallwood.

The school hopes the skills these students learn will help them get jobs and succeed in their future careers.

“At the end of that program, they’ll have the skill sets to go into different pathways – first responders, construction, agriculture, real estate, law enforcement and public safety,” said Christopher Williams, the Co-Founder and Director of Partnership Development of AI Nautics. “They will be able to be competitive on a global scale.”

The course is currently available to students in the JROTC. The school’s principal said it will open to the entire student body in the Spring.

An individual must be at least 16-years-old to take the test to earn their license.