Tuscarora offers free computer classes to the public

February 18, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Student teacher Jessica DiMarzio, center, helps Linda Metcalfe, left, of Mercersburg, Pa., and Eileen Shelly of St. Thomas, Pa., with computer questions during Tuesday's computer workshop on Microsoft Word at James Buchanan High School.
By Roxann Miller

MERCERSBURG, Pa. — The community response to James Buchanan High School’s free computer workshop was so overwhelming that instructors had to move Tuesday’s first class from the high school library to a larger computer lab at the school.

Considering that the first of the six computer classes was held on Valentine’s Day, Bill Brooks, training coordinator for the class, said he was shocked that 22 people participated in the workshop.

“I think we were hoping for somewhere between 10 and 15. So this is encouraging,” Brooks said. “I think it tells us there really is a need for this basic computer application class for 35-year-olds and over because they didn’t grow up with computers.”

The workshops will continue every Tuesday through March 20 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the high school. Each session focuses on a different topic.

Topics include:

  • Microsoft Excel, Feb. 21
  • Microsoft PowerPoint, Feb. 28
  • Email, March 6
  • Internet, March 13
  • Technology Application, March 20
Tuscarora School District Superintendent Rebecca Erb is pleased with the response.

“I’m hoping that this can be an ongoing program, given the investment that the community has made in the high school and particularly with technology,” Erb said. “We want to make this available to as many people as possible.”

“It’s just a nice service we can provide, and we’re really pleased that folks are interested in participating in it,” she said.

The program is free. The cost to the school district is about $630 for the six-week program, business manager Eric Holtzman said.

Brooks said offering the course is important not only for parents, but also for the community.

“Initially, we recognized there might be parents in the community who didn’t know how to use a computer when their child was using one in school and then taking a laptop home,” Brooks said. “But then we realized that it might be a good idea to open it up to the community as well.”

Erin Ritondo, 45, of Mercersburg, took advantage of Tuesday’s computer workshop to stay ahead of her kindergarten-age daughter on the computer.

“I think it’s something that parents need to learn,” Ritondo said. “If parents don’t have a clue as to what their kids are doing on the computers, and we’re the teachers at home, how are we going to keep up with them?”

She plans to attend the other workshops through March to gain as much computer knowledge as possible.

Linda Metcalfe, 59, of Mercersburg, learned everything about her computer from her daughter.

“I know how to get my email and how to Google things,” Metcalfe said.

After the session, she felt confident with her new-found knowledge of Microsoft Word.

“I work from home. I’m not going to be out in the working world,” Metcalfe said. “I just really wanted to know more of how a computer works and all the things you can do on it.”

Brooks said participants can attend one or all five of the remaining computer classes. He said space is limited.

For more information, call Brooks at 717-328-2146, ext. 2240, or send an email to

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