If you’re looking for Sean McSheehy on a weekday afternoon, chances are he’s hunkered down somewhere building a drone with his students.
“I don’t feel like I’m at work, putting a drone together or out flying with the kids,” said McSheehy, who teaches introduction to aviation, web design and Photoshop at Choctawhatchee High School. “They’re learning a lot and I’m learning a lot.”
That dedication and passion is what got McSheehy recognized as a STEMM Teacher of the Year by the Air Force Association’s Hurlburt Field Chapter.
In addition to coaching Choctaw’s robotics team and Drone Team Pink — the first all-girl drone team in the country — he has worked with local businessman Paul Hsu to introduce drones to Laurel Hill School in north Okaloosa County.
McSheehy, who has worked as an educator in Okaloosa County for 24 years, said he doesn’t mind putting in the extra hours because hands-on learning makes a huge difference with many students.
“They’re dying for something to do, some of them,” he said. “They’re excited about staying after school.”
McSheehy likes hands-on projects because it’s the way he learned growing up with his mom, dad and grandfather, all of whom were school teachers.
“When we were kids, I can remember sitting around the table building rockets,” he said.
Not only do his drone team students discover a place to belong, they’re conquering advanced concepts, McSheehy said.
“It’s fun, and that’s why we do it,” he said. “But the students learn the technology. They learn the math. They learn that we’re in a new revolution of flight.”