PRINGLE – New computers + students = well educated information technology employees; this is the formula behind King's College's donation of computers to the West Side Career and Technology Center in Pringle.
Students in the Computer Maintenance classes at the WSCTC had a welcome-back surprise at the start of the school year. About 15 new Dell computers, a network printer, projector, an interactive white board, videoconferencing systems and personal data assistants were provided by King's College and three of its vendors, Dell, PolyVision, and B2B Computer Products.
WSCTC offers educational programs for students from the Dallas, Lake-Lehman, Northwest Area, Wyoming Area, and Wyoming Valley West school districts.
The donation, equivalent to $10,000, was much needed to update the current computer systems the students used during the 2011-2012 school year.
Gary Miller, WSCTC computer maintenance teacher, said the donation was greatly appreciated.
Trying to provide a quality education while struggling against state budget cuts, the WSCTC eliminated funding for its sporting programs last year.
Miller said his budget for the 2012-2013 school year was only $4,000, which had to supply books, materials and equipment for 38 students enrolled in his classes.
"Without King's College's help, we would not have all of this," he said.
Paul Moran and Ray Pryor, Information and Instructional Technology Services Department (IITS) of King's College, noticed the need for updated computers while serving on the Occupational Advisory Committee at WSCTC.
Pryor said when the committee broke off into groups, one of the issues was the older computers and how they could not meet the current industry standards.
The older computers were approximately 5 to 8 years old and were not able to meet the industry standards of operating systems, Miller said.
When the two men began to brainstorm and reach out to their vendors, a tremendous outreach of goodwill began to formulate. It took about six months to acquire the equipment, Pryor said.
Now students can learn about network security, audio visual, web design, trouble shooting computers on system networks or personal computers.
"Our partnership with King's College has allowed us to fill our classroom with the latest technology that lets our students prepare for careers in the IT field," Miller said.
He plans to hold onto the old computers and use them for teaching other aspects of the IT field such as repairs.
"The students will not be held back by the equipment," Pryor said. "The limitations will be of their own."
Students are just as pleased with the new equipment. Seniors Ian Nelson of Forty Fort said the new equipment has capabilities the old computers did not.
"We can scan documents with the new printer, and the PolyVision board is more interactive," Nelson said.
Senior Justin Romanoski of Luzerne said he likes being able to explore new concepts to "develop a firm base in computer science."
Alton Baggett, a senior from Larksville, helped install the overhead projector over the summer. He is looking forward to pursuing a degree in network and security systems at King's College.
To continue to build a strong foundation for the students, both Pryor and Moran are planning to create a mentoring program between WSCTC and King's College.
"Creating opportunities for local high school students benefits everyone," Moran said. "We are also grateful to our vendor partners for their continued support of King's mission to benefit students."