Technology Donation Helps Boot Up Storm-Ravaged Schools

The excitement in the class said it all. The first graders love their latest gadgets.

"I like this game," said 7-year-old Nia Goodman. "I like it, because they got a whole lot of games on it."

When asked if the computer helps with her education, Nia answered, "Yes, because I like to test books on it."

The computers are among 35 donated to West Elementary in Gulfport through Best Buy's "Reboot and Rebuild Program." The company actually gave more than 2,000 computers, printers, and other hi-tech tools to Mississippi schools to replace what Katrina ruined.

Terri Burnham is the Technology Director for Gulfport schools.

"It is so exciting for us to know that people still care, and that people understand what technology does for our kids," Burnham said.

Governor Haley Barbour said, "This is why I'm so optimistic of the Coast coming back bigger and better. These schools are reason number one, and the generosity of Best Buy."

"What a wonderful way to show commitment to Mississippi boys and girls." said state Education Superintendent Dr. Hank Bounds.

Governor Barbour showed the state's appreciation for the gift by making a special proclamation.

"It is my privilege today to declare March 29th, which happens to be seven months to the day since Katrina, as Best Buy ReBoot and Rebuild Day."

The children also sang a song of patriotism and heroes to express their appreciation.

Best Buy Spokesman Dennis Ritchie said, "We appreciate the opportunity to be here and help your school, West Elementary, get back on its feet, and get technology in the hands of our future."

Besides Gulfport, nine other public school districts in Mississippi and the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi also received computers and printers from the "Reboot and Rebuild Program."