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QTL for IT Educators > News > Article Summaries > Current Article
Martin County, NC students participate in
community computer lab project
February 2005

(WILLIAMSTON, NC) Charles Thorne's Computer Engineering and networking students in Martin County, NC - no strangers to community service - are at it again. They've helped set up a church-based computer lab that will give local students access to technology after school hours, and will benefit adults as well.

More than a dozen students from Williamston High and Jamestown High - members of the Martin County SkillsUSA chapter - participated in a community service project at Cornerstone Baptist Church. They reloaded operating systems on computers donated to the effort by Martin Community College, then wired the lab so all the computers could access the Internet through the church's DSL connection. They also set up a wireless connection for visitors.

E.J. Hayes administrators and teachers, pictured with Martin County IT students and their teacher, Charles Thorne (second from left).

The computer lab project was spearheaded by leaders from E.J. Hayes Elementary, another Martin County school. Principal Susan Peele, media coordinator Janet Smith, and instructional technology facilitator Theresa Bell heard the church wanted to start an afterschool program, and offered to help.

"Our goal was to establish a community partnership that offered an extension of the learning environment," says Peele, "thus providing equitable access to students who may not have technology resources available after school. The technology will act as a tool to supplement the school curriculum. We anticipate improved student performance, both socially and academically."

Church leaders echo that hope. "Often times when youth leave the school setting and retire at home for the evening, there aren't persons at home to assist or revisit the studies learned on that day," says deacon Joseph R. Smith. "Many youth are in need of tutorial settings to keep them encouraged and to build their self-confidence."

E.J. Hayes staff will help church staff and volunteers ensure that support system in in place for students who use the lab. Bell and Smith will train church volunteers to use the computers in ways that will help students with their lessons. They have a strong background in the effective use of technology for learning, having participated in QTL™ for K-12 and other professional development programs.

The lab isn't just for students. Church leaders hope adults - especially seniors - will use it as well. "In addition to the learning of the youth, this program will help eliminate the apprehension of seniors who have a fear of being too old to attend a regular classroom," says pastor Russell Shaw, Sr.

The E.J. Hayes administrators were well familiar with Thorne's IT students due to the fact that those students helped maintain the QTL™ Center where E.J. Hayes teachers attended QTL™ for K-12. Thorne's students have taken on a variety of other community projects in the past, from wiring senior centers to building and networking QTL's Capital Center for Quality Teaching and Learning in Raleigh.


For more information, contact Robin Fred via e-mail at or call him at 888.507.3800.

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