Gov. Purdue visits Mount Holly Middle, talks technology

by Christina Ritchie Rogers

Ron and Katherine Harper visit Mount Holly Middle Monday, Nov. 15. Gov. Perdue thanked them personally for their generous donation of $2 million to Gaston County Schools.

MOUNT HOLLY – Gov. Bev Purdue saw technology take center stage in the classrooms of Mount Holly Middle School during her visit on Monday, Nov. 15.

“In the 21st century, the ‘cool’ kids are the ones that get the good jobs and take care of their families,” Governor Bev Purdue said to a crowd of more than 800 students at Mount Holly Middle School Monday, Nov. 15.

After a reception and brief tour of the school, Purdue headed to the gym to speak to the student body about the importance of working hard in school to stay globally competitive.

“Our future workforce -  our future economy – is dependent on how these kids do,” Purdue said.

The governor’s visit marked the first time in almost two decades a governor visited a Gaston County school.

Eighth graders help demonstrate how the SMART board works during a lesson on water use.

“This school is symbolic of what we’re doing in Gaston County,” Superintendent Reeves McGlohon said. “We’re a good school that’s getting better.”

And one way in which it is improving is through the use of technology.

Five years ago, when Principal Judy Moore first came to Mount Holly Middle, the school had just one computer lab, she said. Now, it has four computer labs, and classrooms are equipped with SMART boards – large, white touch-screen boards that behave like computers and allow for interactivity during lessons.

The school purchased the boards through a donation by Ron and Katherine Harper, Stanley residents who donated $2 million in May to Gaston County Schools. The Harpers asked the school system to use their gift to improve technology resources in schools, and required officials to raise a $2 million match so that every school can have adequate technological resources like SMART boards to better prepare students for the future.

“This is the world they are going into,” Purdue said. “We’re not doing the right things by them unless they have technology like SMART boards.”

During their visit Monday, Purdue and the Harpers saw SMART board at work in an eighth grade science class. Students took turns answering questions by touching the board and “dragging” the answers to the correct places. They also demonstrated how the board allows them to answer questions using hand-held remotes that projects their answers onto the screen.

“I need you to tell me why technology is important,” Perdue said to the class. “If I had $100 to invest this year, where would you want me to invest it?”
The class’ answer was, unanimously, “in technology.”

“It’s part of our future,” eighth grader Kaitlin Arney said. “And if we don’t know it then how can we improve our future?”

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