Volunteers help schools go online

September 27, 1997


Staff Writer

Rick Hemphill leans over a table full of outdated computers, terminals and printers at Pangborn Elementary School, piecing the different parts together as the screens flicker to life.

The equipment is largely outdated was and missing items like cables and ribbons.

But then Hemphill finds a bonus: one of the computers has Windows software.

"Boy, this is a find here," Hemphill said.

Hemphill was one of eight volunteers who came to Pangborn Friday night to upgrade the school's computer program as part of Net Weekend. The event continues across the state today to help 500 schools hook up to the Internet and expand their comuputer learning programs.

In Washington County, volunteers will help 16 schools increase their Internet access and computer programs. Volunteers pitch in the labor and money for equipment comes from the state Information and Technology Fund.


Hemphill, deputy clerk for Washington County Circuit Court, said he came to Pangborn because he likes helping schools. He said there is no reason the old computers that had been donated to the school two years ago should gather dust.

Some of the old 382 and 286 IBM -compatible machines were hand-me-downs from the federal goverment or agencies like the World Health Organization.

They may be dinosouars in the constantly-evolving world of technology, but they can help students at Pangborn learn the basics of the computer, said Assistant Principal Carolyn Moore.

"All they need is a word processor. This will be perfect," Moore said.

By the end of the evening, Hemphill and volunteer Lee De Libera had three monitors and four computers running. Hemphill, who has written software programs for the Maryland court system, thinks he can "scrounge" a fourth terminal somewhere.

The computers will be added to the 40 or so already in the school, said Principal Joe Byers.

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