Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy earned the Virginia Student Training and Refurbishment Program (Virginia STAR) for its program that refurbishes surplus computer hardware to donate to students and families in need. Virginia STAR is a statewide program that gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience
repairing used computer equipment and earn IT repair certifications. The award honoring outstanding Virginia STAR programs that implement innovative practices and make a positive community impact was announced and presented during their annual meeting.
Government agencies and private organizations donate surplus computers, monitor and other equipment to VA STAR and then the equipment is distributed to participating schools. Students in the Computer Information Systems course at Heritage reseat computer hard drives, replace missing and broken parts, and install operating systems and software. When the computer systems are restored to good working condition, the students host a Bridging the Gap event and donate the computer systems to local students and families.
Virginia STAR started in 2008 as a collaborative effort of the Virginia Secretaries of Education and Technology and the Departments of Education and General Services to introduce students to the field of IT repair. The program is administered through Prince William County Public Schools and its SPARK Education Foundation. Virginia STAR is currently in 24 school districts and 39 sites throughout the Commonwealth.
Heritage High School joined the Virginia STAR program in 2014. The school’s student IT specialists have refurbished and donated 50 computers to local students.
Pictured (left to right) are Chuck Drake, VA STAR State Coordinator; Sharon Henry, Executive Director, SPARK Education Foundation; Keyanna Conner, State Director, Office of U.S. Senator Mark Warner; Chinell Callwood, Program Administrator, Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy; and Caleb Steele and Benjamin Williams, Jr., Heritage High School Governor’s STEM Academy Students