MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Monday the Memphis Education Fund kicked off a technology drive to help high school students in two disadvantaged Memphis neighborhoods succeed in college and beyond.
The Memphis Education Fund chose two specific area codes in South Memphis to give every high school student a free laptop and internet hot spot, helping to bridge the on-going digital divide.
The power of information is what the Memphis Education Fund and SchoolSeed want to give to approximately 120 senior high school students with their technology drive.
Each senior student in the 38106 and 38126 zip codes in South Memphis is receiving a new Chromebook laptop AND T-Mobile hotspot.
“We wanted to focus on the zip codes and the students that historically have been the most disadvantaged,” Terence Patterson, CEO of Memphis Education Fund, said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing all students in Shelby County to learn remotely and has closed libraries at times, deepening the digital divide and limited access to the internet in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Unlike the digital devices given out by Shelby County Schools for class, these laptops and hotspots are for these students to keep for years to come.
“Making sure that now these students can research colleges, they can fill out forms that they may not have otherwise been able to fill out in this new environment where you’re confined to a space and you can’t necessarily go to a library or get into your school,” Patterson said.
“I’m really happy because I always wanted a new computer,” Autumn Gray, senior at Compass-Midtown High School, said.
Gray says she hopes to use her new computer to get into an animation program in college and realize her dream of creating movies and television shows.
“It will help me in high school so I can keep up with my classes, and it will help me in college so I can do my work,” Gray said.
“We think it is a pure game changer. Because they now have all of the tools and resources as their more affluent peers in other zip codes, even around the country,” Patterson said. “And so we want to try and level the playing field.”
The Memphis Education Fund says they hope this tech drive inspires other groups to adopt zip codes and give out much needed technology.
To donate to the Memphis Education Fund, go to http://www.memphiseducationfund.org/.