Eleven deserving Middlesex Community College students are starting the school semester with brand new Dell laptops, thanks to fundraising by the College’s Computer Club. The club awarded three computers to Micah Benton, of Middletown, Geraldina Castro of Meriden, and to another student who wishes to remain anonymous, who each wrote winning essays about how the computer will help them achieve their academic goals. The Peach Pit Foundation, Inc., then donated eight additional laptops which were presented to essay contest runners-up during a January 6 ceremony at MxCC.
This is the fifth year the Computer Club has held the essay contest and given away laptop computers to students. Initially, students in the club custom built computers to donate. Then, they began raising money during the club’s annual electronics recycling events, and were able to purchase brand new laptops. Last year, MxCC faculty and the Peach Pit Foundation donated to the effort, which allowed the club to purchase additional computers to give away. Over the years, the club has built or purchased computers for 25 students in need.
To win the laptops, students composed an essay explaining how they would benefit from a computer and submitted it along with two faculty or staff recommendations. Donna Hylton, the club’s faculty advisor and program coordinator of MxCC’s health information management, computer information technology, and management information systems, explained that access to computers is more essential now than ever.
“We have made computer technology a part of all of our classes,” Hylton said. “We require students to type papers, to do research on the Internet and complete spreadsheet work depending on the course that they are in. While it’s important for students to have the proper computer resources, we know some people cannot afford to. Our Computer Club is happy to organize these laptops for students, and know they will be put to great use.”
Benton is enrolled in MxCC’s Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing program and hopes to one day become a licensed optician. He says this gift from the Computer Club will enable him to finish his classwork as his personal schedule allows.
“Currently I don’t have access to a computer at home, so I’m constantly doing my homework here at school,” he said. “The school is only open a certain number of hours, and I work as well, so it’s a matter of just trying to have the time to go online and do my work. Now I’ll be able to do that from home.”
Castro, who is enrolled in MxCC’s Early Childhood Education program, was driving to her sister’s house to use her computer for homework and other paperwork. “Now it will be easier for me to work on everything at my house,” she said with a smile.
The additional MxCC contest participants who also received laptops were Raymond Belanger of Wallingford, Valerie Brown of Meriden, Michele Allen of Killingworth, Jackie Holzer of Madison, Sai Surapaneni of Berlin, Diana Davis of Meriden, Merita Hoxha of Rocky Hill, and Stephanie DiMauro of Middletown.