JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — It is Christmas in April for some students at Selma Middle School. Sixty-two sixth-graders are receiving free refurbished computers.
Some Smithfield-Selma High School students spent about two months in their computer and engineering technology class refurbishing personal computers donated by businesses in Smithfield and Selma.
"It was a chance for the kids to get hands-on experience breaking down the computers, upgrading them, changing the memory, different CD-Roms and parts," teacher Jeffrey Waters said.
The work counts toward almost half of the students' grade for the semester, but they said they take pride in knowing they helped needy sixth-graders.
"To start with, I was thinking, 'this will be a lot of work,' and then they said it would be for kids who didn't have them and I know when I was in the sixth-grade, I didn't have much of a computer myself," senior Nicholas Noreault said.
The Smithfield/Selma Chamber of Commerce said it was the best way to make use of old computers that would have otherwise been thrown away.
"We knew that computers being such a big part of our educational world and everything else we do we need to do something to try to bring kids up to even playing field, and that was a good way to do it," said Chris Riley, of the Smithfield/Selma Chamber of Commerce.
About 25 percent of fifth- and sixth-graders in Johnston County have computers at home, which is less than the national average of 75 percent.