BY JON CRONIN
Richmond Hill High School students have received a $125,000 upgrade to their computer technologies program.
Last Wednesday, Jamaica-based Zara Realty, the $125,000 contributor, along with high school administrators and local officials celebrated the opening of the school’s new computer lab with 46 work stations, printers and a dedicated server room.
Previous to this donation the high school’s computer technology courses were taught only through textbooks and PowerPoint presentations.
The new technology will allow graduating seniors to leave high school with Certifications in programming for Cisco, Java, C++ and A+.
Nardeo Singh, vice president of BJK Computer and Business Solutions, Inc. in Floral Park, a tech consultant for Zara Realty on this project, said he was thrilled to see that the project incorporated a dedicated server room. Singh was the realtor’s liaison and helped oversee the implementation of the new computer lab.
He noted that for students to thrive in our information technology driven world, they need to have the hands on experience with both the building of the hardware and the programming of the software.
As a native of Guyana, Singh said, he is passionate about making sure students there are educated in this field – and they are – but as he pointed out that Guyana doesn’t have the economic infrastructure to provide opportunity for those students.
“Information technology is important. Right now, the greatest threat to this country is a cyber-attack,” said Singh.
He said he ran into a college Junior recently who said he was giving up on his computer technology bachelor’s degree because it was too difficult. Singh was disturbed to find out that the student had graduated Richmond Hill High School in 2013 with no computer classes under his belt.
Muhammad Ahmed, an incoming Richmond Hills High School senior, has been campaigning for a better computer programming curriculum at the school for the past two years and is now ecstatic for the new lab. Over the summer he and some fellow students are aiding in the implementation of the hardware and software in the school and the lab.
Neil Ganesh, Richmond Hill High School principal, said that Ahmed has been “very successful” over the past year in recruiting more students to the program.
Ganesh added that with these new capabilities the incoming freshmen have filled all the classes the school is offering.
Tony Kistoo, a computer programming teacher at Richmond Hill High School, said that in the past he has only been able to teach the A+ and Cisco program, but now he can also teach the students Java and C++.
As part of the program, he also trains the students to repair older computers used in offices throughout the school.
The Zara group is also setting up a computer science scholarship fund for Richmond Hill High School seniors planning to major in computer science in college, as well as continue to support the teachers and staff to develop a computer science curriculum for adults in the community.
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JonathanSCronin.