McDowell County middle school students get free laptops - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

McDowell County middle school students get free laptops

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WELCH -

More than 800 middle school students in McDowell county received their very own laptops this week.  And these laptops were a gift for the students to keep forever.

"It's awesome! I mean you get a free laptop! What else is more awesome you don't have to spend a nickel or a dime or a penny," said 6th grader Samuel Dudgeon.

"You rarely get anything like this so getting a computer to keep was just awesome," said 7th grader Destiny Miller.

And these laptops are not school property, they are theirs to keep. But teachers said this gift is much more than any of these students realize.

"There were so many smiles, there was so much excitement. The atmosphere was just incredible they were so excited and they knew that now they can compete with other counties they can compete with other students in the state," said Mount View Middle School Teacher Katie Walker.

The McDowell county school board applied for the grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission through the governor's office.  Students at all three middle schools received their laptops this week.
The principal at Mount View said about 85% of students walked away with free laptops this week. All they needed was their parents approval and a signature on a golden ticket.

Students told us they can't wait to have their own way to get online at home and do their schoolwork.

"It's really nice I don't have to worry about taking too long on it or my little brother or sister," said Miller.

"I've mostly played games with my mom but I've also tried to do some things for school," said Marla Brown.

Administrators said what better way for these students to learn computer skills than to give them one of their very own and turn them loose.

"This opens doors for them that we don't even know about as far as doing research, connecting with other people around the world just gaining experience and gaining knowledge on how to use that tool to better their education," said McDowell County Schools Superintendent Nelson Spencer.

The parents were also involved in the laptop giveaway.  They had to be present for a seminar on how to make sure their children are using the computers wisely.