News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Christmas comes early for students

Nine Sisters High School students got an early and unexpected Christmas present when they arrived at the Circle of Friends clubhouse on Thursday, December 8.

Awaiting them were brand-new MacBook laptops provided through a federal grant obtained by Circle of Friends last year, which was partially earmarked for providing technology opportunities for young people in the program.

According to Program Director Kellie Scholl, the funds became accessible earlier this fall and the organization decided to really think about when would be a good time to make the presentation of the computers to the kids.

When asked about what getting these high-quality computers meant to them, a common theme arose from the students. They see the laptops as being an avenue for educational use as they complete high school and move on into college.

Alexis Lajko, a sophomore, couldn’t believe what was happening. “It’s very exciting, she said. “I know all of the other high school kids in Circle of Friends and know how much this means to all of us,” she said. “For example, I know that one of the other kids has an old laptop with a broken screen, and I have an old computer myself. I think this will be something I will use for the rest of my high school years.”

Her mentor for Circle of Friends, Kay Johnson, who has been with Lajko for ten years, joined in Lajko’s joy.

“This is tremendous for all these kids,” she said.

Tania Rebolledo, a junior, said she will use the laptop every day as she finishes high school and prepares to go to college. She said she had been hoping for a laptop of her own as her birthday and Christmas were approaching. “My mom is going to be as happy about this as I am,” she said.

“When we got the kids in a circle and explained what they were getting, they were shocked,” said Scholl. “The laptops were delivered about a month ago and we thought that right after finals and right before Christmas break would be the perfect time to hand them out.”

Henry Shuler, the recently hired youth program lead, will be teaching some classes to the students in the new year related to MacBook use, according to Scholl.

Executive Director Nicole Woodson said, “This plan has been a year and a half in the making and it is just so exciting and good to get the computers into the kids’ hands. We are just thrilled to be at this point.”


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