Group of students get free computers for going extra mile in school

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A group of South Florida students were rewarded with some free tech for going above and beyond in their classroom.

Cory Jackson, a seventh grader at North County K-8 Center, was among 24 students who left school with his very own computer.

“Just showed up to tutoring every day and brought up my academic grade,” Cory said. “Working hard pays off.”

The students were rewarded for going the extra mile after school, all thanks to a council for educational change partnership between the school’s principal and Joe Steen, founder of Empower IT.

“He wanted to do something to motivate students to try hard, and he offered to give away some computers to students who participated in the after-school tutorial sessions,” said Melissa Mesa, North County’s Principal.

Students like Cory didn’t know about the computers until a month and half after they enrolled in the after-school sessions — they were already motivated to improve their grades.

“She stays on my laptop, and she’s killing the WiFi gigabyte, and I know that she’s doing her work,” said sixth grader Mariah Edison’s dad.

All Mariah and the other students had to do to earn their computers was show up at least 80 percent of the time and work hard.

“We don’t want them to feel defeated if they were having issues. We want them to show up,” said Steen. “We also didn’t want to just give computers away. We wanted them to earn them.”

Mariah no longer has to work on her dad’s laptop and learned one of life’s biggest lessons: hard work really does pay off.

“I didn’t know at first until our reading tutoring teacher. She said if you keep it up and do all right, we could probably win our own computer, so I was on the ball,” Mariah said.

“I’m very proud of them because we have many after-school tutorial sessions,” said Mesa. “These were in addition to the ones that they were going to.”

The computers were purchased from South Florida Digital Alliance, a nonprofit that provides refurbished computers at a discounted price.

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