In room 1349 at Hayfield Secondary School, there are hard drives, mother boards and screws – and 23 high school students putting them all together to make newly refurbished laptops.
The new Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment (STAR) program gives students at the Alexandria, Virginia, school the chance to learn how to repair computers – and then donate them to local families in need.
Technology teacher Constance Chiplock brought the program to Hayfield Secondary School this year. She said the most important lesson from the program is the importance of helping those less fortunate.
“Technology is a right, not a luxury. We believe everyone should have access no matter what their economic bracket,” she said. “These kids are responsible for changing a family’s life of access.”
The students received a $4,000 grant and 25 donated laptops from the VA STAR program. They have been working on the computers a couple times a week since September, and hope to be ready to give them away by early next year.
“It’s kind of sad that other people don’t have access [to computers] like we do, so I think it’s great that we’re doing something like this to give back to them,” said sophomore Sydney Bui. “I think it’s really great because we’re benefiting, and also those people are benefiting. So I think it’s kind of a win-win thing.”
Hayfield senior Edwin Adjare said he grew up without advanced technology, so he can relate to the families he is now helping.
“Everyone should get an opportunity with certain types of technology. And it feels really good because you know that you’re helping someone in need, and you’re giving back to the people," he said.
Junior Mosah Kamran described the program as “fantastic.”
“It’s the most awesome thing to do [for] people that haven’t used a laptop or a computer ever in their life,” he said.
His classmate, junior Fawaz Ahmad, added that it’s easy to “get caught up and lose gratitude in what we have.”
“So it’s always nice to take a step back and do something for someone else,” Ahmad said.
Chiplock said she plans to continue the program at Hayfield. She hopes to reach a total of 100 refurbished laptops.