Old boys give Cornwall College 115 computersSunday, July 25, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James —The Cornwall College Digital Support Initiative received a major fillip following the donation of 115 Dell Latitude 14-inch laptop computers, valued over $10 million, from the New York, Southern Florida and Canadian chapters of the school's old boys' association.
Addressing last week's handover ceremony, Principal Michael Ellis expressed his appreciation for what he described as the well-needed gift from the three overseas old boys' chapters, which heralds the school's digital support initiative.
“Let me just quickly say, though, that what we are doing this [Thursday] morning is part of a broader initiative. I mentioned the fact that we have what we call the Cornwall College Digital Support Initiative. That's the broad context. What are we hoping to achieve? We are hoping to integrate, or to infuse technology fully in the teaching and learning process at Cornwall College,” Ellis contended.
“Simply put, all classrooms must be retrofitted with the necessary apparatus, the necessary technology that is necessary for our boys to learn. So what we're doing this [Thursday] morning fits perfectly in our school improvement plan. I just want to say that.”
Dr Richard Meggo, president of the Cornwall College Old Boys' Association (CCOBA), explained that the computers will be placed in a revolving programme at the school where the students will be allowed to take them home for their tenure, returning them upon their graduation so that another child can benefit.
“We have a strategic intervention. We are going to start with the students in 10th grade where we will have the greatest utility. So they will take that with them to 11th grade and then we evaluate. When they go on to sixth form they will have had a device to use. So, the students are going to be responsible for the maintenance and protection of these devices,” Dr Meggo explained.
“So it is really that strategic intervention so that the students will get maximum benefit from this. So programmes like AutoCAD, engineering programmes, these can run on these computers without any problems, without any reduction in speed, anything. So, it is real targeted, a well-thought-out process.”
The all -boy school principal explained that during the onset of the novel coronavuris pandemic last year, some 300 students were without any devices to facilitate online learning.
“I could tell you that in March of 2020 we discovered that over 300 of our boys did not have a device to connect to online education – and that in itself was a disaster. So we had to move quickly. Subsequent to that, parents would have assisted greatly with ensuring that they would have gotten a device for their boys, and it [number of students with no device] went down to 180. Certainly as we move into the Easter term, it was a little bit better for everybody.”
Ellis reflected that upon realising that virtual learning would pose a challenge to some of the students, he reached out to the Cornwall College Old Boys Assoociation's New York chapter for assistance.
“I would have made the approach to the New York chapter at the time. President Barrington Harvey immediately engaged his business manager and we had the communications back and forth. I would have explained exactly what the school was looking at and I really liked the energy that was extended to the programme at the time, and I am really happy that the other chapters, in particular South Florida and the Canadian chapter, would have come on board,” Ellis stated.
“And this is the kind of collaboration that is necessary to drive success within the school; and I must quickly [commend] the collaborative effort of these associations in making this presentation today (Thursday) a reality.”
He charged the students to bear in mind their responsibility to care the devices in order for the longevity of the revolving programme to be a success.
“As was mentioned before, the survival of the programme depends on the integrity of the students, as well as on the integrity of the parents. I don't know what to say this [yesterday] morning [more than] that if anybody abuses the programme then you will be denied the privilege, because then the administration will have to come in and we will have to take the equipment,” Ellis warned.
Jahlani Ustanny, one of the students who was on hand to receive one of the devices, expressed his appreciation.
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