By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
July 5, 2018
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Students in Valdosta are heading back in to the classroom and getting a step up in a high-tech world.
In a digital age, middle school students are taking STEM learning in to their own hands. On Thursday nearly two dozen Valdosta and Lowndes County students got the inside scoop at the STEAM center at Valdosta State University.
With computers donated by Valdosta City Schools, the kids learned how to take each piece apart and build it back up.
Michael Ferguson will be going in to the sixth grade at VECA next year, and said he learned a lot at the one day event.
"I love computers, I really like to do technology stuff," Ferguson said. "I like how you can create anything with it. The possibilities are endless, with just a few bits of code and you can make something amazing. That technology is just letting us do things that we thought were impossible."
Once put back together, the students are able to take the computers home. Many of them, organizers said, don't have a computer at home. This opportunity allows them to keep tech-literacy growing at a young age, while also staying up on school work.
"Having kids step it up a notch means the next generation of kids is going to step it up even further, and they just kind of build from that," said Richard Smith, engineering and technology teacher at Newbern Middle School.
Those involved also hope the program can help inspire higher education and a brighter future for the kids.
"Kids who weren't even thinking about going to college, walking up on to this campus to do this, they might have second thoughts about that now," Smith said. "They can actually maybe see themselves going there because they actually went there."
Students today, but could be tomorrow's IT experts.
This is the first year the STEAM Center has launched the program. It is free for students to attend. There are two more days scheduled this summer. Organizers plan to pick it back up next year.
They are also looking for donations. Organizers ask that if you or your business is upgrading computers, the old ones can be donated to help local kids and keep the program going.