Teaching life lessons is a part of what Melissa Jones, a Russellville Area Technology teacher, implements into her classroom whenever she gets the chance, so when the Agape Organization contacted her asking if her students could help on a project that would help someone in the community, she jumped at the chance.
Each year Mrs. Jones’s PC Essentials class works on a project, they are each given a budget, specifications and they present them on paper to the entire class to be voted on. The selected project will then become a reality being worked on by all. This year the class decided to build a state of the art computer, the brain child of Russellville sophomore Henry Bouldin.
What made this year’s project selection so special was partnering with Agape who brought together the students and a very thankful fellow named Luke, who was in need of a computer.
Luke Abney is the son of Kelly Abney, who works at Logan County High School. Luke has suffered many health issues and his computer broke down recently. His mom says he enjoys using the computer a great deal, but because of his astronomical medical bills, she has been unable to save enough money to buy him another.
“We have been looking for one to buy that momma could afford, but just couldn’t find one,” said Ms. Abney, who was moved emotionally at the gift that was given to her son.
Mike Humble of Agape has known Luke for sometime. Ms. Abney said Luke saw Humble one day and told him his computer was broken and that’s all it took. A financial backer, wishing to stay unanimous, found out about the situation and donated the funds necessary to build Bouldin’s computer plans for Abney.
“It made the students a little more excited to be able to build a computer for someone who needed it,” said Mrs. Jones, hoping this may just spark those out in the community to partner with the tech school in the future to help others combining donated funds and the student’s knowledge.
When Luke arrived at the tech school on Wednesday afternoon he had no idea what he was about to be given. His expressions were enough to bring tears to any ones eyes when he realized what the students made for him.
“We’re happy for you Lukas. I understand you really like computers, so we called a good friend who help us out and the school worked to put it together, what a blessing,” said Humble.
Luke thanked the students as he stayed in disbelief for some time. “I bet it took them forever,” said Luke, adding “I appreciate this, I can play any game I want to now.”
Logan County students Katy Kinser, Tiffany Cherry, Brent Richey, Jacob Higgins and Jessie Shrum all helped build Bouldin’s computer for Luke and all got out of the experience much more than they had expected.
“It gets you a lot more involved in it as opposed to just building it for a grade,” said Bouldin about giving it to some one who needs it. Bouldin added that his excitement in giving the computer was about the same as Lukes.
“This was a blessing for Luke to receive this computer, but is was also a blessing for us to have been able to build it for him,” said 18-year-old Cherry.
Kinser, a 16-year-old, said she was very excited once she found out it was for Luke because she knew his mother from school. “I am proud to have helped,” said Kinser.
Brent Richey, another 16-year-old, said building the computer for someone who really needed it made it worth all the work. “I was ecstatic to be able to do this. We got to build an amazing computer, but were also able to help someone who really needed it and that makes me happy,” said Richey.
“It’s pretty cool,” said 18-year-old Jacob Higgens. “I’m happy doing it because it’s going to a good person,” Higgins added.
Shrum, a 16-year-old, was also excited to have been a part of the project. “I was excited we got to build a computer for some one in the community. I’ve never done anything like this and to be able to do it for someone else brightened my day,” said Shrum.
Mrs. Jones says she asked her class at the beginning of the project of building a computer from the ground up, “Do you feel like you can do it?” She said some said they didn’t think they could, but after it was done they new they could.
The lesson of having faith and believing in yourself and the gift of giving to someone else are lessons Jones said are most important to learn.