More than 500 high schoolers in the Richmond County School System will soon join 1 million others expected to be connected online as part of a new initiative by Sprint.
The school system is among 118 school districts to receive devices from Sprint to assist high school students in need of internet access in their homes. Fort the next five years, students who lack access will receive a free tablet device and wireless service as part of 1Million.
Sprint created the initiative to help close the homework gap by providing 1 million free devices and wireless service to high school students. Richmond County was selected as one of three school systems statewide and is expected to receive up to 600 devices.
“All high schools in the county were submitted on the basis of need,” said James Lunsford, the district’s director of information and technology . “So if they don’t have internet at home or a computer at home Sprint will accommodate (the need).”
The project kicked off at Butler High School on Monday where 60 freshmen students were the first in the county, and part of 180,000 students in 1,300 schools across 30 states, to be presented with tablets.
“We’re looking to expand the classroom outside of the school,” Lunsford said as students gathered in the student activities room .
Each teen greeted school representatives with smiles and lots of enthusiasm as they were handed a case then a black tablet, enabled with internet access.
“It is such a joy to be able to see how excited these students are about their devices,” Angela Pringle, superintendent of the Richmond County School System, said as distributions concluded. “They now have the ability to access the internet, complete online schoolwork and use digital textbooks.”
Lawudriana Campbell, 14, was among the enthusiastic teens who consider the project very helpful. Prior to the launch, Campbell said she would spend additional hours after school to complete her outside work. Now that the school is part of the 1 Million who received the free device and service she is more secure in her academic success.
”I’m very thankful for having this,” Campbell said. “I didn’t really have Wi-Fi at my house so this feels really good.”
For Adrian Hatcher, 14, who has been able to access the internet at his home, the new device and service fills a specific need.
“Now I can cut off my data on my phone and use my new tablet,” he said. “It’s a huge honor; not everybody will get the chance to do this.”