CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There are some things you can't learn in a textbook. That's why a group of West Charlotte High Schoolers are dedicating three hours after school to a project that helps their classmates become "tech-literate."
West Charlotte senior Anitra Griffin says they're trying to, "eliminate the digital divide." They call it E2D.
Griffin and fellow senior, Julissa Camposcardona, come from two different walks of life, but they have the same understanding of the 'tech-world.' Griffin's passion comes from her dad, "he was always taking apart computers and putting them back together. I thought, Oh! let me see!" she said.
However the only chance Julissa had to touch a computer was in the classroom. "Growing up I knew I had to learn things differently and take advantage of what I had in school," she said.
That's the case for most students at West Charlotte High School and many in the district as a whole. In fact 70 percent of teachers assign homework that requires digital access and 24,000 CMS families do not have access to at-home technology.
"We have a divide in the tech world. Some have computers and some don't. It's here and here, we're trying to eliminate that and make it smaller and smaller until it's no more," 17-year-old Griffin explains.
The newly renovated by Google Fiber E2D lab in West Charlotte employs seven students and pays them double the minimum age. In just one month they have refurbished and re-imaged 160 donated computers. The computers come from companies all over the Charlotte area, including Lowe's.
Kevin Poirier, the E2D Program Coordinator, says "It's two-fold. One it's a good paying job. Two it's something they're able to talk about in terms of college applications and internships for the summer."
It's also changing lives, one laptop at a time. Through the program, families only have to pay $50 to take home a computer for a year under warranty.
"It makes me feel good knowing they won't be growing up with a disadvantage," Camposcardona said. "It's great that they can go forward and have a good future."
It's a promising future every student deserves.