The team behind Drone Legends doesn’t believe in second place. Every single one of us is on a mission, realizing that time is a gift and our days have purpose. Our mission centers around the fact that every kid is a legend. The secret? We believe it about ourselves, too.
I’d love to sit here and say that I was always interested in STEM: a model kid, a straight-A student, or president of the chess club. Truth is, rewind a few decades and you would find little Scott Buell in the back row: arms crossed, dare-you-to-call-on-me.
Like many kids, I was dealt a healthy dose of chaos in life. From the time my parents divorced to the rocky years after, my life was lived in self-preservation mode. I didn’t get to choose much: I just reacted to the hand I was dealt. And my reactions weren’t noble or good, and they landed me at the Hyde School.
Hyde School provides a place for kids who aren’t making it elsewhere, providing equal emphasis on academic achievement and character development. Heading into Hyde School, I had all of this misdirected energy and untapped potential. I was loyal to the KISS army , but more on that in a minute.
Through school, I had this ambition and succession of accomplishments. I went to art school. In my early twenties I started bar tending on South Street in Philly to put myself through St. Joe’s (St. Joseph’s University). My degree was in marketing, and I hit the corporate world hard: excelling in sales and carving out a niche for myself. I had a family. I built a life. But I never forgot where I came from.
One day, in 2014, I was sitting in my office and watching a kid outside my window flying a drone. I thought, “looks like fun,” and bought one. It was just a toy. But, man, was it fun.
I kept getting more and more into drones. Back then, drones were just a hobby. They weren’t the commercial success they are today, but for me, they were an artistic outlet. I channeled my creative energy into the (then fledgling) technology of aerial cinematography.
All stories have a tipping point, don’t they? A moment when the main character goes from being disappointed or unfulfilled into seeing a horizon of possibilities? Well, all of the good ones do. And this one does, too.
My business mind was looking at the world of drones, going, “this is game-changing.” Within a couple of years, drones were everywhere and becoming mainstream business tools. I thought, I’ve been knocking on doors for 30 years, selling stuff I don’t like and don’t believe in. But I believed in this.
Just as this idea was germinating, I connected with a woman who had ties to the mayor in Camden. It occurred to me: you only have to be 16 years old to get your operator’s license. Every time I flew drones, there was a gaggle of kids all around me who wanted to take a turn.
This is where the early idea for Drone Legends came from: what about drone camps? What about giving kids a marketable skill that gets them off the streets? The pitch was well-received, but more importantly, something inside me woke up.
Little Scott in the back of the class; Hyde School and an attempt to prioritize character; a life of tumult: I know what it feels like to be that out-of-place kid who needs a purpose. I also know that, currently, a lot of STEM programs have an immense barrier to entry. Kids who go to robotics camp already know a ton about robotics; kids who are into coding get elite training at expensive specialized schools: but what about the kids like me? And what about who they are as people? . . . . Not just what science, technology, engineering, and math ideas they can master.
My mission isn’t to teach kids about drones.
It’s to teach kids how to be legendary.
Remember KISS? I was part of the KISS army. It gave me an identity. It gave me a place to belong. It gave me something awesome and loud and unapologetic… and it made me brave.
That is the same feeling I want every kid in our programs to feel.
If you want to go there, I’ll tell you this: you will see Drone Legends in stores. You will see Drone Legends on TV. You will buy Drone Legends books and wear Drone Legends gear. This is my purpose. This is going to be a market-shaping brand. I wake up everyday at 4am on the same planet as everyone else, but I haven’t had a life like everyone else. So I see things differently.
And what I see now, as we shape this and sell it, is an 18 year old packing up for college. They pull those Drone Legends wings out of a junk drawer and go, “Oh, right. I’m a Drone Legend.” They remember the moments when they were more than enough, and they remember all of the teachers who made them feel that way.
Every kid is a legend. And I will spend my life making sure they know it.
This is legit: it’s a research-backed, STEM-certified curriculum. It’s setting kids up with life skills, challenging their critical thinking skills, and systematically developing problem-solving abilities.
But at the end of the day, as part of this Dynamic Learning ecosystem, Drone Legends is the brand that every educator in the world can get behind: because it is a brand that puts kids first.
And — this is a promise — it always will be
Founder & CEO