AHEC to round out tech needs at Highlands School

Throughout a year that has been far from normal, the Advance Highlands Education Committee (AHEC) has continued on their course to raise funds for immediate technology needs at Highlands School.

AHEC recently placed their final order for remaining laptops for high schoolers, iPad keyboards for grades 4-8, and a set of Google Expedition virtual reality goggles to be used across all grades.

Middle school students work on laptops acquired through AHEC in the Highlands School Media Center.

This was possible with help of grants from Mountain Findings, Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, and Highlands Community Fund, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. 

“AHEC has done just an incredible job of reaching out to the community and getting them to help Highlands School provide the electronic components that our students need to be ready for life and work in this online world,” said Principal Brian Jetter. “Without AHEC’s leadership our students would not have the same advantages students in a more cosmopolitan setting have.”

Not long after AHEC was formed in 2018, individuals from across the community were eager to help.

“The early donors provided the spark,” said AHEC Board Member Derek Taylor. “We would like to thank all of the individual donors who have helped so far.”

High School Math Teach Gina Billingsley breaks down an equation for students on a smart board provided through AHEC.

AHEC Board President Hilary Wilkes also recognizes the community approach to their fundraising.

“As a committee, we have done very little solicitation outside of writing grants,” said Wilkes. “Many of our donors caught wind of our efforts and approached us to contribute. We knew virtual learning was inevitable this year and are very appreciative to those who have helped give Highlands School the tools to meet the challenges that come with that.”

AHEC will spend $150,000 in 2020 on these upgrades, with just under $300,000 total spent in support of Highlands School over the last two years.

Pictured at the top of the article is a Highlands elementary student using a smart board in class.

Article and photos courtesy of AHEC

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