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Durham Students Build Computers For Flooded Schools in Eastern North Carolina

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DURHAM — Schools in four counties hit hard by Hurricane Floyd got a big boost on Monday. A new project is helping to "re-boot" eastern North Carolina classrooms.

AtDurham's Riverside High School, computer engineering technology students are putting their skills to work to help schools in four eastern counties that lost almost all of their computers to flooding.

"The kids don't have Internet access as they had before," says Paulette France, Assistant Principal atPattillo Elementary School. "The teachers don't have the networking so that they can communicate via technology."

SAS, CP&L, and First Citizens Bank donated money and equipment. Through the non-profitExplorNet, students like Mark Taylor are offering a big helping hand.

"To be able to build them ourselves, and know that we had a hand in it, is just a privilege," Taylor says.

Dave Boliek, president of ExplorNet, saysOperation Re-Bootallows students and adults to work together.

"This is a story of students helping other students and adults who have the good sense to provide the resources, and then get out of the way," Boliek says.

The build-a-thon will continue next month in Raleigh. The students will build computers for schools in Edgecombe, Nash, Craven and Jones counties.

"The way our principal put it is we had gotten used to driving Cadillacs, and it put us back to horse and buggy stage. So now we're having to work out way back up," France says.

The volunteer effort will be capped off later this year when the National Guard installs the machines in the schools.

When installed, the new and updated computers will serve 3,000 eastern North Carolina students.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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