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Smyrna-Clayton Rotary donates 100 computers to schools

Ben Mace
Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
At the presentation of 100 Chromebooks from the Smyrna-Clayton Rotary Club to the Smyrna School District Sept. 4, from left: Rotary Club President Matt Biggs, T.J. Supper from Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff, Bob Johnson, owner of Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff and past president of the Rotary Club; Dana Wattay, past president of the Rotary Club; district supervisor of technology Jody Sweeney and Roger Holt, district director of operations.

Like most school districts in Delaware, the Smyrna district is starting the new academic year with “virtual” classes online because of the coronavirus.

But what if a student doesn’t have a computer?

To help students in need, the Smyrna-Clayton Rotary Club donated 100 Chromebook laptop computers to the district Sept. 4.

“We very much appreciate the Smyrna-Clayton Rotary getting involved,” said district supervisor of technology Jody Sweeney. “They reached out to us, and we are very grateful for their support.”

The computers were refurbished by Bob Johnson’s Computer Stuff, which is owned by Rotary Club Past President Bob Johnson. He estimated the laptops would sell for $125 each, so the total value of the donation is $12,500.

Through Johnson’s company, the Rotary Club was able to buy the units from a supplier in Wisconsin who gave the club a discount.

“It was a challenge,” said Johnson. “We started this project back in the spring but we weren’t able to acquire the computers until late August. We had three days to prepare them for the start of school.”

Roger Holt, district director of operations, said the donation reflects the generosity and community spirit of Smyrna-Clayton residents.

“We’re a very family-oriented community and the efforts of the Rotary Club are an excellent example of that family-centered approach,” Holt said.

Rotary Club President Matt Biggs said each year the club selects a special project in addition to its regular community service activities and donations. This year, the club decided on the computer donations.

“With the recent transition from classroom-based learning to virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic…there is a need for additional laptop devices for those students who do not have access to computers at home,” Biggs said.

The club received a $5,000 grant from the Rotary Foundation after applying and raising additional funds to qualify for the grant.

“We’re very proud to be able to support the local school district and students with these much-needed laptop devices so students can continue to learn virtually,” said Biggs. “We are fortunate to be able to secure these computers with the help of the Rotary Foundation along with Bob Johnson and his company.”

To raise funds, club holds annual events like its car show, and each member is encouraged to donate $100 each year to the club for community service projects along with scholarships for Smyrna High School graduating seniors.

How to help

The Smyrna School District is accepting donations to buy more laptop computers for students in need. For information, email Jody Sweeney, jody.sweeney@smyrna.k12.de.us.

The Smyrna-Clayton Rotary Club is hosting a “virtual scholarship dinner” to raise funds for scholarships for Smyrna High School graduating seniors. For information on tickets for the dinner, see the website www.smyrnaclaytonrotaryclub.com.