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Donation gives Bandys laptops

October 25, 2010

Anonymous donors gifted an area high school with a technology boost.
Bandys High School received 30 laptop computers, valued at more than $35,000, from anonymous benefactors.
"They asked us to come up with a wish list," said Bandys High School Principal Todd Black. "I thought, 'Wow, I'm almost ashamed to ask for something (that costs) that much.'"
Black said he knew Bandys High was in need of a technology upgrade, so he told the anonymous donors a new classroom set of laptop computers was at the top of the school's wish list.
The donors delivered on their promise, and about three weeks ago, the school received 30 new laptops.
"When they came, everyone was just so excited," Black said. "We are so grateful."
The classroom laptop set is valued at about $38,000. The laptops are stored in a mobile cabinet with wheels, so teachers check out the laptops from the library and wheel the storage case to their classrooms.
Teachers then use the laptops as tools for a variety of different lessons, from peer-editing essays to research for a history paper.
"I've found that allowing my kids to use their laptops or other technology lets them feel more comfortable," said Leslie McIntosh, who teaches English and yearbook classes at Bandys. "They're comfortable. They have no fear of breaking anything. I would be crazy if I didn't let them take their knowledge and run."
For those students who aren't familiar with computer technology, the laptop lab offers a chance for those students to familiarize themselves with technology needed in almost any job today.
"Some kids have a lot of technology at home, and others don't," McIntosh said.
Bandys High has a "cloud" network for its computers, which allows students to upload, share and save their school documents.
This cloud network is similar to systems many colleges and universities have in place for their students to electronically submit homework assignments, essays and even examinations.
"For high school students, the ultimate goal is to prepare us for college," said Bandys senior Mary Wells Ruth, who hopes to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "It's important for students to know that's how it's going to be in college."
The laptop computers will also help Bandys High be more environmentally friendly.
Homework or essays typed or saved on the cloud can be uploaded or e-mailed to a teacher's computer without having to print a hard copy, which uses school paper and other limited resources.
For Bandys senior Nolan Hester, who wants to attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to study computers, the laptop computer lab is a head start into his college major.
"To have all your homework (on the cloud network), it's great," Hester said. "As students, we've already got a lot of things to think about, and not having to remember to bring our homework is one less thing to worry about."
The school now has about 90 laptops for students and teachers to share, but in the future, Black wants to continue decreasing the student to laptop ratio. Eventually, he wants every student to have his or her own laptop for school use.
"We would love to have 1 to 1 computing," Black said. "As a school, I would love to go 1 to 1, but it's a costly endeavor."
Students and teachers said they can't thank the mysterious donors enough for their generous support of the school.
"I don't think they realize how much they help our school," McIntosh said. "It's just really nice to know people take an interest in what we're doing at Bandys."

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