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500 new Buffalo-made computers donated to area classrooms

Mike Desmond

Nearly three dozen teachers across Erie and Niagara counties have new Buffalo-made computers in their classrooms today, a gift from Bak USA. The downtown manufacturer donated 500 computers to the Teacher's Desk and helped give them out Wednesday.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Bak USA CEO J.P. Bak addresses teachers about the importance of technology in the classroom.

The Teacher's Desk helps provide school supplies to underserved classrooms across the eight counties of Western New York. On Wednesday, Bak USA CEO J.P. Bak, family members and staff came to the facility to deliver the computers, which included an array of laptops and tablets.

They were given out to the teachers who won a competition among 72 teachers from 52 different schools that submitted applications. Those applications were reviewed by Bak staffers and the Teacher's Desk staff to pick the winners.

Bak said the computers will help with educational fairness.
"To start some kind of an awareness, spread the word," he said. "We responsible adults, we cannot any longer accept that there are kids out there that don't have what so many other kids have."

One of the winners was Debbie Maeder from Buffalo's Lorraine Academy, whose third grade students put together a video of why they like working with computers. Many of her students were there to help their teacher pick up the devices for their classroom.

Maeder said she tries to work with parents about computers.

"Parents are there, but as you can see I have a lot of my classroom here," Maeder said. "The parents I try to drag into the classroom because they are why we are teachers. We want the community to be involved as much as the school community."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News
Boxes of computers await their new owners.

Lorraine parent Jose Rivera likes his daughter Isabella - who helped put together the winning video - studying in a tech atmosphere.

"It's still in point that she in an environment with other kids, where they're all working together and their school, like Mr. Bak says, is one of the very many unfunded schools that don't have a lot of tech," Rivera said, "and I think it's great that they're going to go into an environment and applying what they learn with their math and their reading and English all that stuff with technologies."

Rivera is an example of the changing tech world. He runs a gaming channel on YouTube.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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