Recent donations to Freedom Park School gave middle school pupils something to sing and cheer about Jan. 26.
The Armed Forces Families Foundation and Taco Bell partnered to make two donations worth more than $50,000 in the past year. These donations have resulted in the purchase of computers for the elementary and middle grades.
The Jan. 26 celebration focused on the most recent gift, which provided 23 laptop computers with software and a cart for the middle school.
“These computers help students at Freedom Park do more. They give teachers more creative ways to teach us,” said Lauren Silva, the student council president.
The middle school chorus sang two selections, and small ensembles also sang. The cheerleaders cheered, and Trevion Webber, a seventh-grader, recited a poem.
Principal Pauline Andrews said the mobile computer lab “gives every child access” to the technology.
After the program, guests visited Danielle Gonzalez’s sixth-grade language arts classroom to see the pupils and laptops in action.
The class was reading Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry about a black family living in the Depression-era rural South and the struggles they faced.
To give the sixth-graders a better understanding, Gonzalez had the pupils research Jim Crow laws on the laptops.
By having the laptops in the classroom, “this puts us all on the same page. Not all students have computers at home,” she said.
Gonzalez sees many possibilities for the use of the technology in her classroom.
“We work a lot on presentation skills. This really helps for them to experience what they’ve learned,” she said. “They do a lot of PowerPoint and Prezi. We will be able to include more research-based learning and even more presentations.”
Freedom Park School is on Fort Gordon and has about 750 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade; the majority of them are military dependents.
Andrews said the first donation, received in February 2011, went toward the purchase of netbooks for the elementary school pupils.