SANTA CRUZ -- While Isabel McDonoughe has used a computer since she was 9, her skills were limited to searching photos and typing. Thanks to Branciforte Middle School's new computers and technical training, though, the 13-year-old can now put together a PowerPoint presentations with ease.
"I think it's important to have those skills when we live in such a tech world," said the eighth-grader. "We need to have this info because it prepares us for the future."
Branciforte Middle School hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday to unveil the school's 30 new computers in the library. Part of a recent fundraising effort, the school also plans to repurpose its metal shop into an innovative technology lab.
The school raised $36,000 for the computers that were set up a few weeks ago, and aims to raise an additional $150,000 to remodel the tech lab. Santa Cruz City Schools has offered to match up to $50,000 in fundraising.
In addition to new computers, the students received training on using Google Drive to access documents at home via the Internet.
Students gave presentations Wednesday evening to approximately 25 teachers, parents and peers to show the computer work they'd done with the media lab.
Before the new computers, the school had computers that were 9 years old. With an upgrade in technology, this will hopefully influence the students' work, said 12-year-old Liam Lohman.
"I don't know the contrast between these and
The school's administration estimates that about half of the students don't have access to computers at home, so the renovated media lab was especially important for the those students with homework.
"We'd like to think that this helps level the field for them," said Ollie Ziff, the school's librarian.
The school also aims to provide students additional skills with the technology lab, said teacher Sara Goldfarb. The lab will consist of model making, building and engineering.
"They're doing real-life engineering; it's a life skill," Goldfarb said. "We need kids to be digitally literate."
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At A Glance
Donate to Branciforte Middle School
What: The Santa Cruz middle school hopes to raise $150,000 for its new technology lab. The school estimates that $35,000 will go toward remodeling, $109,000 to equipment costs and $6,000 upkeep for two years.
Where: Cash, checks and equipment can be delivered to Branciforte Middle School, 315 Poplar Ave., Santa Cruz