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Leadership Rockwall unveils completed technology lab for Boys & Girls Club

(ROCKWALL, TX – May 10, 2017) The Leadership Rockwall Class of 2017 revealed their completed class project yesterday – an $89,000 state-of-the-art technology lab for kids served by the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Texas. The Texas Health Rockwall Technology Lab will provide kids served by the BGC much-needed after school access to computers, iPads and STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall President Cindy Paris and CFO Jason Linscott stand at the entrance to the new Texas Health Rockwall Technology Lab for the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Texas. Photo courtesy of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall.

With its robotic surgery program and a desire to encourage kids served by the BGC to pursue a future career in that field, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall kicked off the year-long project by donating $20,000 to become the title sponsor and earn exclusive naming rights to the technology lab. Other sponsorships helped provide 10 Apple desktop computers and 30 iPads for the kids to use in the lab.

Jenny Krueger, CEO of BGC Northeast Texas and a member of the Leadership Rockwall Class of 2017, said the BGC found that a lot of the kids they serve were needing access to technology and programs they use during school hours, such as Think Through Math, so that they could get their homework done after school.

“Now they’re going to be able to take what they’re doing with their math teachers in school and bring it into the lab to work on during after school hours,” Krueger said. “We also have a lot of resources available to us for STEM programs for the kids – a Digital Art Suite where they can do photography, Robotics programs, building their own apps – there’s just a whole world of things that are available to us curriculum-wise through Boys and Girls Club.”

Krueger said the 18-member Leadership Rockwall class was highly successful in obtaining in-kind services and donations for the project from Rockwall-area businesses, philanthropists and community leaders. These generous donations helped provide the carpet and paint for the lab, a charging station for the iPads, and ceiling tiles for the lab courtesy of Rockwall ISD. She said My Computer Guy not only helped set up the computers for the lab to make them safe for kids to go online, they also agreed to maintain the technology in the lab for the next three years at no cost.

“We are extremely overwhelmed by the generosity of this community and the amazing people that I’ve been able to work with for this class project, and I just want to tell everybody thank you,” Krueger said.

The BGC and Leadership Rockwall class welcomed Congressman John Ratcliffe at the reveal event. Ratcliffe, who’s also the chairman of the cybersecurity subcommittee in Congress, said it’s important for the United States to provide opportunities in the STEM area for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds in order to establish a young, strong cyber workforce.

“What makes this project so fantastic is that not every kid has access to the internet and to this type of technology 24 hours a day,” Ratcliffe said. “This technology lab really enhances their ability to have those opportunities, to get better and have a greater interest level in some of the innovative technologies that are available through the internet.

“It’s an area of tremendous need, and I applaud Leadership Rockwall for recognizing that. You can obviously see this is not theoretical; they have taken it and made it all very real. This room could be filled with kids taking advantage of all of the technology that this community is providing to all kids, regardless of socioeconomic background.”

The Rockwall Chamber of Commerce will hold a 20th anniversary graduation celebration on May 17 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the San Jacinto Plaza on the Downtown Rockwall Square. The event will include a graduation ceremony for the Leadership Rockwall Class of 2017 and an all class reunion celebrating 20 years of the Leadership Rockwall program. Register for the event at rockwallchamber.chambermaster.com/eventregistration/register/131953.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Photos by Austin Wells and Richard Redig, Blue Ribbon News.

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