Students in Carencro High’s Academy of Information of Technology are helping repair and restore laptops for students of Calcasieu and Cameron parishes displaced by Hurricane Laura.
Nearly all the schools in the two southwest Louisiana parishes were damaged significantly by the Category 4 hurricane that hit Aug. 27, and most still have not reopened.
Both school districts have released plans for virtual learning, and a group of Carencro students are working to ensure that’s an option for their peers in Calcasieu and Cameron.
The school’s Academy of Information Technology has joined local IT company Enterprise Data Concepts LLC and the705 organization that develops young leaders in the initiative to repair and restore laptops for displaced students.
“I think it’s pretty cool that we get to help out the people affected by Hurricane Laura,” Carencro senior Isaiah Thomas said. “I hope what we’re doing gives them the opportunity to continue learning.”
The Carencro seniors are well-equipped for the task. Claire Trouard, director of the magnet academy, called this opportunity a “perfect match for the skill sets that our students learn in this academy.”
“Throughout their four years here, our students become well-versed in computer maintenance repair, web development, digital graphics, programming and Microsoft Office,” Trouard said. “They are also required to have a professional internship during the summer between their junior and senior year, so they have a significant amount of experience to bring to the table for this initiative.”
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Enterprise Data Concepts and the705 are collecting donated laptops — about 200 so far — from across Louisiana and out of state.
Roddy Bergeron, chief operating officer at Enterprise Data Concepts, reached out to Trouard at Carencro for the help.
“It was going to be an overwhelming amount of computers for us,” Bergeron said.
So the students are joining them in troubleshooting, repairing and preparing the computers for re-use. Bergeron said they’re “hustling,” having readied about 60 in a week.
“I love working with computers, so this is going to be a really fun project,” senior Hannah Benoit said. “I’m glad we get to make a difference.”
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Bergeron brought about 70 refurbished computers to Kinder High in Allen Parish, which has accepted many students from nearby Calcasieu, “to get them into the hands of displaced students,” he said.
“It’s not food or water or shelter, which people still need. But it’s something we can do,” Bergeron said. “If students don’t have to miss a year of school, that will be awesome. That was a driving factor.”
The initiative also will add to the Carencro students’ portfolio and hands-on experience.
“This is such a unique opportunity for our students to be able to experience working as professionals while at the same time being able to help individuals their own age who are going through crisis right now,” Principal Mary Qualey said.
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For the705, this project aligns with the mission to grow young leaders and increase community involvement.
“We try to instill servant leadership and giving back in our members, and we hope this will drive that message home,” said Bergeron, also president-elect of the705.
Laptops can be donated to the project at Enterprise Data Concepts, located inside the Oil Center at 406 Audobon Boulevard in Lafayette, or call to arrange for pickup.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Carencro High seniors repairing laptops for Calcasieu, Cameron students after Hurricane Laura