Haahuupayak recycles computers into students' homes

By Debora Steel, May 11, 2011

Frederick Sieber III (in the red, white and black checked shirt being carried by dad Fred) was the recipient of one of 12 computers refurbished by Haahuupayak School. The computers are about 10 years old, but still Internet ready and word and spreadsheet capable.

Tseshaht — 

Frederick Sieber III, a kindergarten student at Haahuupayak School, was one of 12 lucky recipients of a computer today. He and dad Fred Sieber Jr. attended Haahuupayak School, along with the other families, to pick up his new educational tool.

Well, new isn’t exactly the word for it. The fact is that the computers being distributed were mostly 10-year-old models that the school had replaced with newer technology.

Haahuupayak School likes to recycle, said Principal Tricia McAuley, and instead of sending the computers to the dump, Grade 4 Math teacher Rob Fioraso suggested that they be refurbished for further use.

He has spent the last few months gathering the old school computers from their home in storage and making sure they had all the necessary components to make them functional. He ensured that word and spreadsheet programs were installed, as well as the anti-virus to protect them, and, yes, they are Internet ready.

Which is good news for five-year-old Frederick, who plans on using his computer to practice his letters on the Sesame Street Web site and play building and puzzle games on the Thomas and Friends Web site. Discovery Kids is another favorite.

Dad Fred said the school sent home a notice in Frederick’s school bag a few months ago asking if anyone wanted to receive one of the computers. As a single dad, budgets are always tight and the old laptop that was given to him some time ago was nearing the end of its life.

Fred doesn’t have cable, so for entertainment, Frederick watches some of his favorite shows online, and also likes the free children’s activities. That morning as Fred made breakfast Frederick was looking at words that begin with “O” on Sesame Street.

Part of the requirement to qualify for a computer was to write out why it was needed in the home.

Fred wrote that when the choice had to be made between paying for cable and Internet, the Web won hands down in his house because it is also a tool of communication.

McCauley agreed. She said putting computers in the homes of children that might not otherwise have them would put them on a level playing field with other students, plus they could email their school friends and stay connected to family.

In one family, there was a mom and two girls going to school and they said the computer would be used for research and homework.

Frederick has been using a computer since he was three years old, and knows all the lingo.

“He tells me a program is downloading,” laughs Fred.

But there are some students who received a computer today that will be just starting to use computer technology.

And having a computer now in the home will give them hands on experience to improve their knowledge.He