Grant will pay for computers at St. Theresa |

Grant will pay for computers at St. Theresa

William Ferchland
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Faith Bechtol, an eighth-grade student at St. Theresa School, composes a song on one of the school's 35 new laptop computers.

Armed with a grant of $162,283, St. Theresa School went shopping for electronics.

The grant, administered by the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, allowed the private Catholic school to purchase 35 Apple laptop PowerBooks and a host of accessories to lift the school to the front of technological learning.

On Monday, eighth-graders were using the laptops to make a three-minute song for a future presentation.

“They’re so awesome,” said student Sofia Giovannoni. “We’re making songs on them and you can tell what type of personalities we have by what sounds we create.”

Next to Sofia sat Michelle Bott. The two compared notes.

“Her’s sounds like a club and mine sounds like, I don’t know, like you’re in a bar or a movie,” Sofia said.

Besides the computers, the school received printers, science lab kits, five digital cameras, dissecting pans, hydroponics kits and other items. One program will allow students to digitally dissect animals such as eels, pigs, frogs and worms, said science and computer teacher Elizabeth Ferguson.

“I’m overwhelmed with the inventory,” she said in delight.

The new equipment has carts in order to transport them to different classrooms. Each grade, from kindergarten to eighth-grade, will be able to use the laptops in a variety of subjects, Ferguson said.

Students at the computers Monday were awestruck.

“I don’t have a computer at home so it’s really fun having a computer to play with,” said student Victoria Schafer.

“It’s about 80 billion times faster than my computer at home,” said fellow student Eric Harrod.

The school received a similar grant six years ago when it purchased hardware for its computer lab, which was transformed into a classroom because of the need for space, said Principal Danette Winslow.

A representative with the Sacramento Diocese, which includes St. Theresa School, said the grant was one of the largest of its kind at the elementary level.

The E.L. Wiegand Foundation awards grants to further science programs for schools. During its fall meeting, the board of trustees awarded St. Theresa School the grant. The foundation was established in Reno in 1982.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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