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Orchardist upgrades Apples for school use

August 26, 1998

Orchardist donates MacsBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer [enlarge]




ST. THOMAS, Pa. - Orchardist Scott Hughey may never have taken apples to his teacher, but he has polished up a few of the electronic variety for a local school.

The vice president of Mountain Brook Orchard, Hughey, 31, is an Apple computer enthusiast and recently donated four to St. Thomas Elementary School in the Tuscarora School District. He has two more donated machines that he's getting ready to hand over.

"I decided there were probably a lot of older computers around gathering dust," so he put an ad in a local newspaper two months ago asking for donations of older Apple models.

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Hughey ended up with three Apple IIe computers, an Apple IIgs, an Apple IIc and a Macintosh Classic. He's hoping to get more donations that he can upgrade to run newer programs.

"I thought, I'm sure the schools could use some help in this area," Hughey said. Working on Apple computers has become a hobby, so he wanted to make it productive, as well.

"They are an excellent fit for us," said Harold Yeager, principal for St. Thomas and Mountain View elementary schools. Two of the computers will be put in classrooms and two will go into the computer lab at St. Thomas, where students already use Apple models.

Although the personal computers are a couple of generations behind the newest machines, Yeager said, "at the elementary level they still serve us very well."

Yeager said the students will get a lot of use from the Apples, including learning the ABCs, keyboard skills, and how to type and print letters and assignments.

In an office surrounded by 1,200 acres of apple trees, Hughey had with him a 7-year-old Apple he'll donate to a school. By the time he's finished with it, the computer's memory will have been doubled from two to four megabytes and it will be able to efficiently run software programs that are only a year or two old.

"I upgrade them to as modern an operating system as possible, maximizing the computer so it's as useful as it can be," Hughey said.

"It's probably going to cost me about $4," he said of the upgrade. Hughey buys many of the parts he needs from a company that salvages them from broken computers and a 1 megabyte RAM chip costs him $2.

Working with older computers will help the students better understand how they function, he said.

"Rather than just clicking on a picture they know means something, they might have to type in a command. It helps them to learn how the operating system functions behind the scenes," he said.

"He is extremely knowledgeable ... I know who I'm going to call when I need computer advice," Yeager said of Hughey.

Anyone wanting to donate an Apple computer can call Hughey at 1-717-369-4843.

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