Corteva Agriscience out of Myakka City donated $5,000 to RCMA to fund the purchase of six DJI Mini 2 drones.

A group of local students have a fun way to learn thanks to a generous donation.

Corteva Agriscience out of Myakka City donated $5,000 to RCMA, Florida’s largest nonprofit provider of quality early childhood education and family support services, for a STEM program using drones at its K-8 RCMA Wimauma Community Academy. The money will fund the purchase of six DJI Mini 2 drones.

RCMA IT Director Scott Olson, a Tampa resident who expects to become a licensed drone pilot by the end of 2022, leads the RCMA Drone Flight Academy at the school. One goal of the club is to have members become licensed drone operators before they enter high school to help encourage them to pursue careers that use drones. These opportunities include jobs in the film industry and TV production, agriculture and even commercial pilots.

Corteva made the donation because of its long partnership with the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA), which runs an Emerging Leader Development Program (ELDP). RCMA board member Sonia Tighe runs the ELDP, and two Corteva employees in the program toured RCMA during an ELDP visit to RCMA Wimauma Community Academy.

“As a company, we are heavy invested in community betterment activities, including advancement of agriculture through science and education with a focus on STEM programs; increasing the understanding of modern agriculture, especially among youth; and improving food security in the communities we are a part of around the globe,” said Joshua H. Temple, Ph.D., field sciences leader for Eastern U.S. crops with Corteva. “By supporting STEM initiatives such as the RCMA drone program, we hope to invest in the lives that will one day be the future of agriculture, and even our company.” 

RCMA’s Drone Flight Academy started in 2021 with five members and one drone. The club meets once a week during the summer. In the club’s first year, students learned the basics of safe drone operation and ended the class showcasing images they had taken using the drone.

Representatives from Corteva visited Wimauma Community Academy in January to present the company’s check to RCMA board members Linda Miles-Adams and Sonia Tighe, Principal Mark Haggett and Olson.

“It’s incredible to see the extent to which the Wimauma Community Academy invests in the children to prepare them not only for success in their future education, but also in their community,” Temple said. “From the extensive bilingual program to the extracurricular activities, we were very impressed by the types of students and future leaders the academy is training.”

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