PHS students refurbish computers for a cause

PLYMOUTH — If the best kind of learning is hands-on, Plymouth senior Allen Collins has learned quite a bit this year. Since the beginning of the school year, Collins and several other students in the Microsoft Certification class at Plymouth High School have been refurbishing second-hand computers with the intent to resell them and use the money to benefit students in need.
“We started a couple of weeks after school started,” said Collins. “We’ve been taking (donated computers) from different businesses and people at school, fixing them up and rebuilding them, and replacing parts as needed.”
The students haven’t advertised that they need machines to work on, but so far word-of-mouth has done the trick and many people have contributed old computers to the program.
After the donated machines are up and running again, the students offer them to faculty at a greatly reduced price. The money they make from the sales pays for parts. At the end of the year, the class will donate about 30 fixed-up machines to students who need a home computer.
“It’s a benefit to the community and good for the students,” said Microsoft Certification teacher Curt Feece of the program, adding that the idea had been assistant principal Ken Olson’s.
Collins said that he spends about 10 hours each week working on the donated computers, most of which need replacement hard drives or CD-ROM drives. He also reinstalls basic programs and outfits the machines with anti-virus programs.
“I love technology and I love working with computers,” said Collins. “I thought (the program) was a great idea, giving computers away to people who cannot otherwise afford them.”
Feece said that the students have sold 15 of the refurbished computers this school year so far, and they expect to give away an additional 30 computers to students by the end of the school year.
The Microsoft Certification class is one of PHS’s vocational class offerings.
Currently, there are several students who take Plymouth’s Microsoft Certification class remotely from other Marshall County schools. At the end of the school year, the students will be able to take an exam to become a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (Windows 7 Configuring).
Anyone interested in donating computers to the student’s refurbishment program should contact Feece at cfeece@integrationgroup.com.