ERIE, Pa. — Students are celebrating the new school year by ditching backpacks for drones. 

Students of Reach Cyber Charter School are getting hands-on with STEM projects. The back-to-school event for the statewide, online public charter school was held at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center on Wednesday. Students and families are learning about drones and green energy, such as solar-powered pedal cars. 

“I like it,” said student Annabelle Kerner, 15, who recently enrolled in the school for 9th grade.

She added, “It’s a lot of fun, and I like the drone a lot. And it’s something for people to do.”

John McMurray, the school’s STEM Education Manager, said, “It’s a way to connect their STEM initiatives, their builds, their creativity in a project.” 

The school enrolls more than 1,700 students in grades K-11 across the state.