It was out with the old and in with the new – Chromebooks that is – when students showed up for the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School’s (CHS) January school supply pickup.

New Chromebooks with Wi-Fi hot spots embedded into the device were given to CHS students on Thursday, Jan. 28 in the Multi-purpose Room at the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus (ESHEC), according to CHS Director Gina Jeffries.

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“This phenomenal opportunity to bless our CHS students with new computers was made possible, because of an anonymous donor, who heard that our students were struggling with unreliable internet due to the lack of bandwidth within the East St. Louis community,” noted Jeffries. “The anonymous donor is an ‘angel’ who showed up for the needs of our Charter School students and has the East St. Louis community at heart.”

Each student also received the following items:

  • $100 Schnucks gift card
  • Food box
  • Pizza
  • Afrocentric themed book
  • Goodie bag

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“We were able to give out the Afrocentric books, because of a book drive that CHS English teacher Bridget Nelson held,” Jeffries added. “Also, our goodie bags were donated by Mary Jo Pembrook, PhD, ESLC Performing Arts music teacher.”

“Some parents were brought to tears because they were finding it difficult to manage unreliable internet issues during the pandemic in which they had no control over,” Jeffries revealed. “We are also pleased to provide families with food-related items. It’s difficult to concentrate on academics when the basic need for food is unmet.”

“Having the new technology with reliable internet connectivity helps lessen the digital divide,” said SIUE School of Education, Health and Human Behavior Dean Robin Hughes, PhD. “Whatever it takes to help our Charter High School students not only continue to learn, but to excel in their academics, is what we are willing to do.”

The SIUE Charter High School is a school-of-choice for families in the East St. Louis School District 189. The mission of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Charter High School is to prepare students who are career- and college-ready upon graduation. To achieve this mission, the school and its staff will positively impact the educational and economic lives of East St. Louis, Illinois youth through individualized instruction in core academic subjects, exploration of career interests and aptitudes, assistance in realizing students' talents, high academic goals, and expectations that graduates will become competitive employees for the 21st century.

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