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Old computers giving new hope
A teacher at Wedgewood Middle School is going out of his way to make sure that students at his school have the tools they need to succeed.
Phil Maxwell, a seventh grade science teacher, works after school with eighth graders interested in computers. These students, who have dubbed themselves “Olde 2 New,” work to refurbish older computers and make them new again.
The “recycled” computers are then donated to the families of Wedgewood students without access to computers.
According to Maxwell, the students who volunteer their time are mostly “kids who are interested in taking things apart.”
He says that while many of the students in the group can be considered gifted, they all are very inquisitive.
Maxwell teaches the students the basics of refurbishing a computer, such as how to take one apart, clean it up and put it back together. He recently aided the students in extracting data from a crashed hard drive.
“I’m trying to give them the skills they need to do these things,” said Maxwell, explaining that knowing the ins and outs of computer repair can come in handy in today’s technology driven world.
One of the more difficult projects the students have encountered, according to Maxwell, is the repair of a computer that had been through a fire. The students were given the task of figuring out how to take it apart, and how to get it cleaned up.
“It’s really something to watch the kids go through the problem solving process,” he said.
Maxwell added that students in the Columbus City Schools district are required to complete a certain number of volunteer hours before they qualify for graduation, and the work they do with Olde 2 New counts towards those hours.
Maxwell feels that helping families have access to computers is vital to the education of children.
“There are computers for use at libraries, but that can be hard,” he said, explaining that libraries don’t always have hours compatible with students’ schedules and that kids can sometimes have difficulties finding a transportation to and from the library, especially with parents that work.
While any local family can apply to receive a refurbished computer from the group, priority goes to the families of Wedgewood students.
“Some of these kids have so little,” Maxwell said, “if you can do something to help them, you’ve accomplished something.”
Maxwell is accepting donations of used computers and computer accessories. While he does take computers and parts that are not in working order, he asks that he be notified of any problems at the time of donation.
For more information on donating a computer to the program or receiving a computer for your family, contact Phil Maxwell at the Wedgewood office at 365-5947 or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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