Union Local gets computer donation, sets graduation date

BELMONT — The Union Local School District is getting some welcome help from the community.

During last Thursday’s board meeting Superintendent Ben Porter recognized a donation from Thomas Auto Center in St. Clairsville of 20 computers to the school district.

“Thomas Auto Center’s a good partner for the district and they are frequent supporters of the school,” he said.

Curriculum Director Jayme Yonak, daughter of co-owner Robert Thomas, said the computers will be useful,

“He actually paid to have them cleaned,” she said. “He had the computers cleaned of all their data and stuff and brought them to Union Local School District. He delivered them to Union Local School District ready to go. We just had to put our programs on them.

“Our technology coordinator is even now dispersing those computers to some of our staff members. Their computers are very outdated, so anytime we can get something like that donated, we’re very grateful,” she said.

Thomas said they donated both ThinkCentre Lenovo laptops and larger computers.

“It just happened to be good timing. We had replaced all our old computers and had all these leftovers, and I didn’t know what to do with them. They were sitting around,” Thomas said.

He said the expense for preparing the computers for donation came to about $6,600.

“We had a little bit of an expense, but you can’t compare that to a child’s learning. … We had them gone over and cleaned up for them. That should give several years of usage and hopefully help some of these kids that are getting cheated out of their school year. … It’s so important at this time of our lives with so much stuff going on. If they can get use out of those, it’s money well spent.

“I’d like to really congratulate UL for going the extra mile out there for their children. They’re doing a great job.

The board also approved the graduation of the Class of 2021 on May 28.

“The plan is for it to be at our football stadium this year,” Porter said, adding accommodations are being made for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re continuing to monitor the health director’s guidance,” Porter said. “They have adjusted the outdoor seating capacity.”

The graduating class has 121 seniors. Porter said officials are determining how many guests each graduate will be able to bring.

“We’ll do what we can to enable students to bring family members and friends to the graduation,” he said. “We’ll be fine tuning that and making those announcements in the next week or so.”

Livestreaming will also take place for those unable to attend.

Porter commended staff and students for their hard work and cooperation during the pandemic.

“It’s been a challenging school year. Students worked hard to adapt and adjust with the changes. We started off the year hybrid and we went full in-person full go, then we went back to hybrid and to remote, and then eventually full go, so it’s been a really hard adjustment for everybody, particularly the students. I know the staff in the district have worked hard to adjust as well. We’ve learned a lot this school year and we hope it’s something we don’t have to experience again, but at the same time we’ll take what knowledge we gained from this experience and try to make this a better school district.

“Something else someone could no longer use, we were able to use, so I thought that was a really nice gesture for a local business to donate those to us.”

The board also recognized board member Terry Puperi for 10 years of service to the board.

“Mr. Puperi had recently received recognition through the Ohio School Boards Association in the spring,” Porter said.


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