HOUSTON – From the get-go, there is one thing this pandemic has highlighted -- digital inequality, including access to technology for underserved students in so many of our communities, is real.
Two Houston-area high school students, Ford Lancaster and his friend, Adam Desroches, decided they want to raise money for laptops to help underprivileged students set themselves up for success.
Russell Westbrook was their inspiration
Lancaster is a senior at Stratford High School. Desroches is from St. Thomas Episcopal High School. They grew up playing baseball together.
“The backstory is they were actually inspired by Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets ... his partnership with Comp-U-Dot,” said Cristal Cervantes, student support manager at Spring Oaks Middle School.
More than $36,000 raised
With the more than $36,000 they raised, the pair bought 160 Microsoft Surface Pros and began working with the Communities in Schools Coordinator in Spring Branch ISD to identify those students who would benefit the most from a new computer.
“I looked at the whole family,” Cervantes said. “My students, but also who else is in the household that could benefit from this.”
After students from the district’s four middle schools were selected, late last month, Ford and Adam were there as families lined up in their vehicles at Northbrook Middle School and received their laptops.
“One of the parents actually, during the pick-up, she mentioned that she was super thankful because she was going to be able to use the device to search for jobs,” Cervantes said. “My big takeaway when I sat and thought about what these boys did is they provided hope, in the form of these devices.”