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San Francisco Bay Area High School Nets 65 New Laptops

A high school in Northern California is turning used cell phones into new laptops.

As the result of a wireless device recycling project, Sprint is donating 65 Dell laptops and funding to allow Internet connectivity to John F. Kennedy High School in Richmond, CA.

Sprint's Project Connect allows people to recycle their old wireless phones, batteries, accessories and data cards. Net proceeds from the project are used to fund programs such as the one that gave Kennedy High $100,000 for the laptops and connectivity costs.

The students at Kennedy were selected to be recipients of the program when Sprint asked Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia to suggest a school that would be appropriate for a donation. The 65 students who were selected — out of the 800 who go to the school — were those with "little or no technology at home," according to a West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesperson.

According to Sprint, nearly 80 percent of the students at Kennedy High are eligible for free or reduced meals and 30 percent are English language learners.

The 65 students selected will receive instruction in how to use the technology in their studies. Through an agreement between the school district and Contra Costa College, they will earn 12 college credits for the training as well.

"Increasingly, our daily lives, both personally and professionally, require the use and understanding of digital technology," said Ralph Reid, Sprint's vice president of corporate responsibility. "These students and teachers need to access the most current educational resources available and to achieve their highest educational goals."

Since 2007, Sprint's Project Connect has donated more than $5 million to programs that promote Internet safety and digital literacy for children. Last year, it made a similar $100,000 donation to another Bay Area school, the Oakland Military Institute.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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