Facebook gives laptops to East Palo Alto students

August 22, 2013 1:46:56 PM PDT
Dozens of eighth graders in East Palo Alto are getting a valuable back-to-school gift from a Silicon Valley tech giant. Facebook executives spent Thursday morning at Cesar Chavez Academy in the Ravenswood School District working to help close the digital divide by giving 100 students brand new Apple laptops.

"It's exciting because you get to, in case you have trouble doing your homework or something, you can search up on the Internet," student Alondra Manriquez said.

"There's a lot of kids who don't have one and they need one for their school or work or something," student Brenda Rodriguez said.

Education leaders say state standards require students to have technology skills, but in East Palo Alto getting online can be tough. While many in Silicon Valley have iPads, home computers and smartphones to go with their laptops, in East Palo Alto, students are lucky if their family has a cellphone.

"Even though we're in the heart of Silicon Valley, it's one of those cases of so near yet so far," Superintendent Gloria Hernandez said. "Most of our students face harsh economic realities."

Facebook leaders say they want to provide students with the equipment they need to learn more about technology and prepare them for high school, college and beyond.

Facebook isn't stopping at Cesar Chavez Academy; this week the company is also giving away more than 300 more laptops to all the other eighth graders in East Palo Alto.


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