08/14/09 — Students learn to restore computers

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Students learn to restore computers

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 14, 2009 1:51 PM

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Wayne School of Engineering students Kyle Gurley, left, 16, Sarah Moore, 15, and Steven Morton, 15, work on a Dell computer Thursday. The students were learning to refurbish computers with new hardware and software.

When Sarah Moore learned she and her classmates were going to dismantle a computer in class, she thought of it like putting together a puzzle.

"I thought it was going to be like a car, putting all the pieces together," she said. "But you have to focus and know where everything goes."

Refurbishing a computer also entailed making sure the parts functioned once installed, she said. There was a check and balance system to ensure the machine was in good working order.

For the 15-year-old sophomore at Wayne School of Engineering, the two-day project was beneficial.

"I learned a lot. It's really been helpful," she said Thursday. "It's something you can use in everyday life."

Wayne School of Engineering was one of five engineering high schools in the state visited this week by Youth Technology Corps, a Chicago-based group of teens that teaches students how to restore used computers. In less than a week, the machines were ready to be donated to agencies in the community.

"Office Max donated 100 computers, 20 were brought to Goldsboro," said Gary Hales, the principal at the School of Engineering. "They refurbished the used computers -- taking parts off one, dealing with hardware, software."

"We're figuring out what's wrong with most of them because some of them were old and some don't work but we had to fix them," said sophomore Peyton Garland.

While she aspires to become a teacher, the practical application opportunity was not lost on sophomore Jennie Gardner.

"For me, the part I liked best was programming the software into the computer," she said. "After I watched people do it a few times, I found programming into the computers was easier than working on (the tower). This is actually helping me learn about computers."

John Kugler of Youth Technology Corps said he has taken groups of students to Mexico, sent computers to Africa and Asia, and this year the group focused on traveling in the U.S.

"Students learn, students get skills," he said. "(But) the goal is not just refurbishing but to give back to the community."

Daniel Cribbs, one of the Chicago student visitors, is a recent high school graduate. He plans to go into the military, but made the trip with the group to North Carolina to help students learn what he once did -- the importance of helping the community.

"It gives us a sense of accomplishment," he said. "When you realize you're helping somebody that's less fortunate, it kind of makes you feel like a hero."

Hales said that 10 of the fixed-up computers will be donated to Wayne Uplift for use in the domestic violence shelter and its after school program.

"We're going to keep a few of them," he added. "We'll check them out to students who do not have computers at home."

The effort will not stop with this week's project, however.

"We're planning on sustaining this and starting a club to refurbish computers in the community," Hales said. "I'm also contacting Wayne Community College about getting some student volunteers to come over and work with the kids in the club."