WELCH, W.Va. — High tech gifts are being delivered to students in McDowell County.

As part of Reconnecting McDowell, every middle school student in the county is getting their very own laptop computer.  The project was funded by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission through Connect to Compete.

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Reconnecting McDowell’s laptop distribution started on Monday night at Mount View Middle School in Welch.

The first 420 laptops were handed out on Monday evening at Mount View Middle School in Welch.

Bob Brown, the coordinator of Reconnecting McDowell, said the room was filled with energy.  “We assumed the students would come with a parent, but the excitement was such that entire families showed up,” according to Brown.

More than 1,000 people were on hand for the event.

Brown said he got to talk with some of the middle schoolers and they were anxious to get working on their laptops.  “A young man told me now he is able to take a Spanish course online that he wasn’t able to pick up at the school,” explained Brown.

Tuesday, the computers were delivered to students at Sandy River Middle School in Avondale and students at South Side Middle School in War will receive their laptops on Wednesday.  In total, 872 computers now belong to McDowell County students.

Brown stressed it’s important to get those laptops into the hands of sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

“The best time to impact students career and college choices is at the middle school level,” he explained. “That’s why we initially decided to roll the computers out at the middle school level.”

The three middle schools have plenty of computers in their labs. The laptops are for use after hours.

“They belong, not to the school system, they actually belong to the middle school students to be used at home to compile their homework, to do research,” said Brown. “There’s also our hope that the parents or grandparents will utilize the laptops.”

If the money comes available, those with Reconnecting McDowell hope to supply laptops to high school and elementary school students in the next few years.

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  • Retired Teacher

    How many oxycontin are each of these laptops worth, I believe that is the appropriate question/comment.

    • Welch

      While how many OxyContin is a sad but true statement.

  • Leo

    Lets hope they use them for more than gaming and Facebook.

  • Byron

    I do not live in McDowell County, but good for them and the students on getting these computers. To (MyView) it is unreal how there is always someone in the crowd that must always be a negative. It is up to each county to give their students the chance to succeed. I am sure (MyView) you never like seeing anyone make a effort to improve on what we have in this wonderful state. If you read the article this was a GRANT to get the computers.

  • MyView

    With all the money being spent in McDowell County it would appear we are simply providing an incentive for other school systems to fail and await a state take over and bail out

  • Frank & Helen Tsutras

    To Bob Brown, everyone involved in RECONNECTING MCDOWELL. and everyone in McDowell County, congratulations and best wishes as you begin your Computer experience. Hopefully, you folks will have the Server availability with which to access maximum use of your computers.
    Keep up your positive activities to improve the educational opportunities for our young (and older) individuals in McDowell County.
    I welcome the opportunity to advise and assist you in any manner possible/
    Frank G Tsutras, 6264 Glenwilton Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23188.