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Ernie Cox Jr., a former Chicago Tribune photographer, at the GVR Computer Club, works at the site last year. On Monday, the club will give $10,000 to Continental Elementary School District for Chromebooks.

The GVR Computer Club plans to help Continental Elementary School District students get new Chromebooks with a $10,000 check on Monday.

Club president Mike Kearns said the group wanted to help students, so the board unanimously agreed to donate the funds on Wednesday.

"Right now, we hear a lot of reports that these kids are falling behind in some of their studies with virtual learning," he said. "They're failing a couple of grades here and there, and we hear that across the country. We think a lot about Continental School, and we think it's a great school."

The school's Director of Technology Services Albert Magallanez said he expects the club's donation to buy 40 to 50 Chromebooks.

Continental plans to provide kindergarten and first-grade students with Chromebooks. Continental's second- through eighth-grade students have enough computers for each student.

But Magallanez said some computers would replace failing older models students are using.

"I think what's happened with the pandemic is the kids are using them a lot more than they have in the past," he said.

Added usage shortened the expected lifespan on some computers, which might have had another year if not for the pandemic.

"With all of the additional expenses we've had to do with our regular capital budget, something like this helps the district without having to worry about reallocating other funds for this," Magallanez said.

He said the school needed about 50 more Chromebooks, and the computer club's donation should cover most of them. Magallanez hopes to get the new books within the next month.

Magallanez talked to Kearns and knew the club planned to donate some money to the school. But he didn't know quite how much they planned to donate.

"So when he did tell me the amount, I was surprised," he said. "I didn't think it was going to be that much. He did say they were going to make a good donation when I talked to him during Christmas break. But I didn't anticipate it being as large as it was."

Kearns said the donation is coming from the club's general fund and fits in with its overall goals.

"If we could find a charitable donation to give it to, we want to give it to somebody to buy computers to help education for children," he said. "It's a good cause."

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732