S.C. teens build personal computer as part of summer academy

Friday, June 26, 2009

1890Over 70 South Carolina youth are assembling their own computer as participants in the 1890 Extension TechBridge Summer Academy, a statewide summer academic and technology program sponsored by SC State University 1890 Research & Extension and Pennsylvania-based construction and engineering firm Henkels & McCoy Inc. At the end of the program, each student will take home his or her computer at no cost to them.

The Academy, which began mid June and will run for five weeks, is being held at the following six locations:

Anderson County                                                Charleston County
Watkins Community                                           Center Burke High School
204 S. Main St.                                                     244 President St.
Honea Path, S.C. 29654                                    Charleston, S.C. 29403

Dillon County                                                        Jasper County
Successful Afterschool Sites, Inc.                    Ridgeland Middle School
212 W. Main St.                                                    2050 Jaguar Trail
Dillon, S.C. 29536                                               Ridgeland, S.C. 29936

Orangeburg County                                            Sumter County
John W. Matthews Jr. 1890                                Extension Center Mayewood Middle School
810 Goff Ave.                                                         4300 E. Brewington Rd.
Orangeburg, S.C. 29115                                    Sumter, S.C. 29153

The 1890 Extension TechBridge Summer Academy reinforces the importance of academics through technology, with emphasis in math and reading. The participants, who are rising seventh-and eighth-graders, learn various vocational and technical skills such as computer assembly, introduction to keyboarding and Microsoft Office programs, how to research online and navigate safely on the Internet, and resume writing.

The Academy is in its fourth year, and, by summer’s end, 250 students across the state will have received brand new computers from 1890 Extension. More importantly, however, the Academy focuses on increasing computer literacy and providing access to technology to South Carolinians.

“The Academy goes far beyond helping our students succeed academically or just giving them a free computer. We often hear extraordinary stories of how family members or members of the community will come to the home of a participant to use the computer to search for a job online, type a homework assignment or learn how to use word processing software,” said Delbert Foster, 1890 Extension administrator.

To continue fostering similar opportunities and to further develop young ambassadors of technology, 1890 Extension is working on plans to extend its efforts in bridging the digital divide. The outreach program hopes to launch soon a service learning project, in which previous Academy participants will refurbish and deliver computers to the elderly and families who do not own computers in their community; the youth will also train the recipients.

For more information on TechBridge or other programs, contact 1890 Extension at (803) 536-8460.