NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) – When the New Kensington-Arnold School District moved the classroom online, there were not enough devices for each student.
“You can’t share a device,” said Stephanie Sakoian, a French teacher at Valley Junior-Senior High School.
When Mrs. Sakoian noticed being unplugged was sparking an educational disconnect for students, she decided the virtual classrooms needed a little re-wiring.
“It was time to just step up, hand out a device and say, ‘we believe in you and we know you can do this and you do too,’” said Sakoian.
With permission from the district, the teacher created a GoFundMe page, raising cash donations to purchase Chrome Books for students.
She raised almost $20,000 in just two weeks. A combination of faculty, staff, former students and community members have been supporting the cause.
Mrs. Sakoian and her team of helpers have already begun purchasing the devices. Teachers from schools K-12 are working on a need-based wishlist for those who will receive one.
For Mrs. Sakoian, bridging the technology gap means much more than getting these student plugged in.
“As a teacher, you wonder what legacy you will leave heading with your students. And at Valley, we try and instill strong values, a sense of community, belonging, and this encompasses that,” said Sakoian.
The new semester begins Monday.
The devices will start being rolled out early next week.