First Posted: 9/22/2009
Its almost like Christmas here at Gentry Middle on Sept. 22.
Principal Tom Hemmings addressed seventh-grade students and their parents at the school Tuesday night before they received their new laptops.
The students are the first group in the Surry County School System to receive their computers as part of the 1:1 initiative instituted by the board of education.
Our students are very excited and so is everyone in this room, said Hemmings.
The distribution came as a result of the board of educations call for action at 2008s board retreat. Board members decided that laptops would help students embrace a 21st century environment.
At this moment, one dream is becoming a reality in the Surry County School System, said Dr. Ashley Hinson, superintendent. Its obvious that you are the first of the first. Tonight is your night. Youre getting it before anybody anywhere.
All four of the middle schools in Surry County will have laptops by the end of this calendar year for seventh graders. Meadowview Middle School will be the next stop, followed by Central Middle and then Pilot Mountain Middle.
The school system has worked to set up precautions to ensure students use their laptops correctly and within the guidelines set forth by the school system. Some Web sites have been blocked by the school server such as Facebook and MySpace.
The school system has also been working with the Surry County Sheriffs Office to make sure everything possible is being done to keep the students safe while using the Internet. Chad Hutchens has moved into a new position as a detective for computer crimes in order to help with this initiative.
For students, Tuesday night came after months of discussions about the laptops and speculation of when they would receive them. They were excited to finally have the computers in hand and are looking forward to being able to use them in class. They were also excited to be in the first group of students to receive laptops.
I think it will be useful because we wont have to write everything out anymore, said Omar Puebla of getting a laptop. I feel lucky. I have some friends at Central Middle and they said youre lucky because youre the first one to get it.
Its a laptop and everybody wants a laptop, said Sydney Atkins. I think its an honor and it shows Gentry really is special.
In order to receive a computer, students had to attend the meeting with a parent and provide $27 for an insurance policy. They also had to sign an agreement to follow the policies set forth by the board of education. In exchange for a signed contract and $27, they received a Dell mini laptop and a carrying case.
The school will hold another meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. for parents unable to attend Tuesdays meeting.