Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 18, 2014

McDowell middle school students given laptops to succeed

WELCH — Middle school students in McDowell County received a free laptop Monday evening courtesy of  The Appalachian Regional Commission, Connect2Compete and the Reconnecting McDowell partnership.

Every middle school student in McDowell County was given a free laptop of their own to keep at an event at Mount View Middle School.

The laptops are not just for school but everyday life not just in McDowell but around the world, McDowell County School Superintendent Nelson Spencer said.

“There will be assigned times for students to bring the computer to school for educational purposes. This is a great opportunity for good and bad things to happen. Students will have to make the choice of whether or not to use them right or wrong,” Spencer said.

Bob Brown, project manager for Reconnecting McDowell, said he is honored and thrilled to be part of this project.

“We will be distributing 782 laptops this evening, and this is just a small piece of work from Reconnecting McDowell,” Brown said.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said our whole region has some catching up to do.

“But making sure families and especially students are connected and can remain competitive in school and business are only part of the reasons so many people have pledged to help reconnect McDowell. You see boys and girls it’s pretty simple.  Everybody here believes in you. We know that if you get a fair chance, and we put in your hands the same tools everyone else has to use and learn in life, you won’t only excel, you will win,” Rahall said.

Officials hope that with these laptops students will excel not only in school but in life.

“These computers are for embracing and enhancing your school work not your social life. They will help prepare you for college and a career. Use it, enjoy it and grow with it,” Gayle Manchin, chair of Reconnecting McDowell said.

— Contact Anne Elgin at

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