Technical Trailblazers Program
Have you ever heard the cliché, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it?” The youth at William H. Brown Elementary School have defied the odds by doing the opposite. It is an amazing experience to see these children break the inside of a computer down to a shell, then rebuild it by adding all of the components back into the computer. What’s even more shocking about the Tech Trailblazers program is the fact that the kids are only 5th through 7th graders! When asked what she likes most about the program, 7th grader Aleka Hersey replied, “I like the fact they are teaching us new things and trying to get us out of our comfort zone. It helps us to understand and appreciate things that people wouldn’t usually give to a school like this.”
Dedicated to teaching the children as much as he can during this ten week program, instructor Tremayne Baker goes above and beyond to prepare for the program. Mr. Baker’s plan is to teach the Tech Trailblazers participants about each component inside the computer and its function. They will also learn about software and operating systems. After just two weeks in the program, which only meets twice a week, the youth were taking computers apart and putting them back together while knowing the functions of each component. “My favorite thing about the program is taking everything out of the computer and putting it back,” says 5th grader Ethan Mowatt.
Near West’s vision is to reduce the digital divide and increase the participants’ knowledge of information and technology.
Principle Sadler of Brown Elementary truly believes in the vision and so provides the space and opportunity to house the program at her school. The Boeing Company was also generous by supplying the Tech Trailblazers with all of their computers and other materials needed to increase their knowledge through hands-on experiences. With the help of Mr. Baker, Principle Sadler, and the Boeing Company, The vision of Near West is now becoming a reality. Their ultimate goal is to start a youth-led technology center where kids refurbish and troubleshoot computers for the community. Children accidentally break things down and tear things apart every day. However, through the Tech Trailblazers program, youth are breaking down computers and building the future!