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National Project Provides Free Wifi To Lee County High School Students From Low Income Families


The Lee county School District was selected to participate in the nationwide initiative by  Sprint to provide high-speed wireless internet and mobile devices to one million, low-income high school students.

Shellie Taylor is the graduation coordinator at Island Coast High School in Cape Coral. She helped her fellow staff members give mobile hotspot devices to about a dozen students in the school's media 
center on Friday. 

“We just know in the world that we live in, that technology is one of those factors we wanted to be able to overcome that and make sure that wasn’t a barrier at all,” Taylor said.  

The curriculum at Island Coast High School, like many schools today, relies heavily on internet-based learning and assessments. The school provides its students with free laptops but students, like freshmen Alexis Gonzalez, with no internet access at home found that their grades were being severely impacted due to an inablity to complete homework assignments.

“I finally get to do my homework at the house….It’s gonna boost my grade up like, a lot,” Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez also said that being able to surf the web outside of school will help her to research concepts she needs a little more help to understand.

"Teachers only have so much time to go over things in class," Gonzalez said. 

125 students from Island Coast High School will get hotspot devices which provide three gigabytes of high speed data a month.

These devices will be distributed at all of Lee County’s 14 high schools, and also to the Lee Adolescent Mothers Program. Up to five different mobile devices can be connected to the hotspots. 

Students are required to return the devices to the school at the end of the academic year. 

Andrea Perdomo is a reporter for WGCU News. She started her career in public radio as an intern for the Miami-based NPR station, WLRN. Andrea graduated from Florida International University, where she was a contributing writer for the student-run newspaper, The Panther Press, and was also a member of the university's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.