JOPLIN, Mo. — The uses for drones has grown by leaps and bounds, literally.

A group of high school students is learning about them at an area university today.

“Yeah, we get to do a lot of different cool things, but this is definitely one of them,” said Destiny Ross, MSSU Upward Bound Program Participant.

At one time drones were pretty much just a toy to play with, but that has certainly changed.

“This is an amazing opportunity. I don’t think I would ever take this for granted, ever. It’s so cool to be able to do this,” said Ross.

Ross is part of the MSSU Upward Bound Program that allows certain high school students that meet certain criteria to take part in a six-week summer college simulation program on campus.

Students in that program are usually the first generation in their family to attend college, and/or meet certain income guidelines.

“Well you know that the students in the Upward Bound system get to pick their classes, and this is a very popular class, and we’ve taught it for the second year in a row,” said Brian Jones, MSSU Drone Program Instructor.

He and other faculty members teach participants about the theory of drones inside the classroom and then put that information to use when they start flying them inside the Justice Gymnasium.

“Drones are becoming more and more prevalent in our airspace. Much more opportunities for professional opportunities to serve the community and to participate. Everything from police officers to military members to deliveries of packages, pizzas, whatever,” said Jones.

By the way, this Saturday is National Drone Safety Awareness Day.