Greenfield-Central teens work in technology installation


GREENFIELD — Paul McNally wants to design video games or Web pages. Ryan Hubert thinks he’d like to create music for games. Jonathan Reimer wants to become a network administrator.

All three are preparing to start their senior years at Greenfield-Central High School with a little bit of experience under their belts and insight about what their futures could hold in technology.

They’re among nine so-called “Tech Cadets” enrolled in a new program that employs budding young technology gurus to help the school transition to one-to-one computers.

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A one-to-one computer program provides laptops to every student. Greenfield-Central High School is launching its one-to-one program this fall.

Every Mt. Vernon student from kindergarten through seniors in high school will be issued a laptop this fall.

Southern Hancock and Eastern Hancock already have one-to-one computers in place; at all grade levels at Southern Hancock and in Grades 5 to 12 at Eastern Hancock.

From setting up nearly 1,500 MacBooks for their high school peers to running wire through ceilings, the Greenfield teens in the Tech Cadet program are getting hands-on experience in the programming and, at times, labor-intensive world of information technology.

“I’m getting field work,” Reimer said. “I’m getting more experience, understanding how servers work.”

The Tech Cadet program was launched at Greenfield-Central High School this past spring semester as a way to find extra hands to help set up the high school’s laptops; repurpose desktop computers to other schools; and install wireless access points throughout the school district. The teens work six hours nearly every weekday this summer.

While setting up the laptops was the fun and fast part, running wire in school buildings can be physically demanding, especially when the air-conditioning has been turned off in the school buildings.

“It’s eye-opening,” said Rebecca Stone, a Greenfield-Central tech support specialist who is helping oversee the program. “I think they thought it would be actual programming. They didn’t realize it would be wiring.”

Stone and Christie Northcraft said the program can help give students interested in technology hands-on experience, not only with installing applications but in understanding the spectrum of technology, which can include manual labor.

“I know I want to do something with technology and computers,” Hubert said of why he joined the program. “When they offered this I was, ‘Well, this could actually help me.’”

The students were on hand to assist approximately 300 local teachers at the “Applemania” conference last month. The cadets also created how-to videos, which will be shown to their peers in the first week of the new school year, on using the Macbooks. The “what not to do” video on caring for the laptop was especially fun, they said.

The cadets will sit at a help desk in the school library when the school year launches to be the first line of defense against technology glitches in the new one-to-one program.

While Hubert expects there to be plenty of questions on the computers in the first weeks — especially from those who are used to Windows-based products — he hopes the one-to-one program will be smooth sailing in the near future.

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For more information on Greenfield-Central’s digital learning initiative, visit