A Fly Future

Students in a local foster home find hope in Salina, ‘Mrs. Scott’

Jesus Jasso

Stepping out of his car into a clear, sunny day, senior Houston Griffitts picks up his equipment and starts his search for a good place to set up. Griffitts decides to set up in an open field and sits down in a green patch and brings out his drone.

Griffitts grabs his control and starts to pilot his drone. He feels the wind softly blow against his face and he can feel any stress he has fade away. He feels right at home and excited to have the opportunity to have drones become his future. 

Griffitts had his first encounter with drones during the seventh grade. He traveled to K-State Polytechnic and witnessed the drone enclosure they recently built at the time. Despite it seemingly being so long ago, it left a lasting impression on Griffitts and now he wants to do it for a living. 

“I think it’s just an upcoming technology so I want to be apart of that,” Griffitts said. 

After Griffitts’s first encounter with the drone enclosure, he decided to take another trip to K-State. He had a look around the campus and decided that K-State was a great place and thought it was cool. Griffitts decided to take it from there, planning to go to K-State and pursue his dream. 

When he attends K-State Polytechnic, Griffitts plans to major in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) degree and minor in UAS operation. To make it easier to understand, his major will teach him more about what goes on inside of a drone. He will learn more about how to build and design a drone. His minor will teach him more about how to pilot the drone. 

But before he can do that, he has to tackle high school. Throughout his high school year he has taken several college classes. 

It is to be expected that, with the college classes on top of his regular classes, some challenges are sure to emerge.

“The class I’m taking right now is definitely the hardest college class I’ve taken. I’m pretty much booked on the weekends with doing homework but I try not to let that get the best of me because the way I look at it is if I do it now, I don’t have to do it later,” Griffitts said. 

Griffitts’s gifted consultant, Christy Fritz, also believes that this year is pushing him more than before.

“I think this year is the first year he has been truly pushed in the classroom. His Calculus class at K-State has been making him work, but it is good for him. Houston can accomplish anything he sets his mind to,” Fritz said.

Fritz has known Griffitts for seven years, first meeting him during middle school. She continued to work with him from his freshman through junior year. Fritz believes that he has great potential in his future and wishes the best for him.

“Drones are the future in so many ways, and he has tapped into that love for them,” Fritz said. 

After getting through all the classes, Griffitts hopes that the military will contract him or work for a private company where he’ll design, build, test, and pilot drones. 

Another person who has seen Griffitts’s efforts is engineering teacher Michael Hair. Hair has known Griffitts for two years and has never had a student who has had an interest in majoring in an engineering field related to drones. 

“Currently, Houston is working on engineering a drone consisting of some parts he has bought online along with parts he has been 3-D printing in the classroom,” Hair said. 

The engineering field for drones is relatively new, but it continues to grow at a rapid rate. Hair believes Griffitts will be able to work with drones just about anywhere that Griffitts wants to. 

“He obviously has a very strong interest in drones and I believe he will be very successful in this field,” Hair said. 

Griffitts is a dedicated student who’s dedication and hopes has led him a step closer to having his dream come true. Griffitts has been described as an intelligent and kind-hearted individual who is a great role model to all. 

“His character is top-notch, and Houston genuinely cares about people. He is the first to step up and help when asked and younger students look up to him,” Fritz said.

Many people wish to see Griffitts succeed and wish the best for him.

“I would also describe Houston as a kind-hearted individual with a good moral compass and ethical values. He is someone I would trust to do the right thing,” Hair said.

Hair wishes to give advice to Griffitts to help him continue what he’s doing.

“If I could give Houston any advice it would be to just keep up your strong work ethic and commitment towards your goals,” Hair said.

Fritz thinks about Griffitts’s future. Thinking of all the great things he could accomplish.

“I wish Houston all the best in the future. He is going to be such an asset to his community. I hope he stays in touch!” Fritz said. 

According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), there will be 70,000 new jobs created in the next three years”

Alex Morales
Senior Houston Griffitts poses with his drone. Griffitts has been taking lots of classes this past semester which have kept him busy.