PAYSON, Ill. -- The Payson School District soon will have enough Chromebook laptops for each middle and high school student in the district, thanks to a grant from Quincy Service League.
The district had committed to a $60,000 project to make 228 computing devices available to students over the course of several years, and the district already has bought 128 Chromebooks. Now with Quincy Service League's $15,270 contribution, the district will buy the rest this summer.
"As our communities are growing, technology is always changing," Service League Vice President Laura Mays said. "This is where the more progressive schools are going."
The grant was awarded from the Amelia E. Bauner, Frances A. Hall and Walter J. Hall Charitable Fund with the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri. When Bauner died, she left money to the Service League through the Community Foundation despite never having been a member. The first grant from her endowment was awarded in 2011.
"Amelia Bauner was a teacher in the area for 45 years," Mays said. "We decided to honor her tradition."
Mays describes the donation as a "fairy godmother grant." The donation decision was made by an eight-member Service League committee.
"We like to give it all to one or two organizations so they can do something big with the money," Mays said. "We are also trying to spread it throughout the entire Quincy area."
Grants from the fund are available to any nonprofit organization in Adams County.
"Our goal is to make sure Amelia is remembered in this area," Mays said.
Chromebooks purchased with the Service League contribution will bear a label honoring Bauner.
The Payson School District was selected through an application process, and all applications had to be sponsored by a current or past Service League member. Michelle Wolfmeyer sponsored Payson's Chromebook project.
"I'm from Payson, and I have two children who attend," Wolfmeyer said. "I hear my children speak about the technology and how much they enjoy it, but they don't have enough for every student. This is a huge win as a community member and as a parent.
"I feel that the technology enriches an education. It empowers teachers to really work with the children. My son made a comment about how much better PARCC (standardized) testing is on Chromebooks."
She thinks access to such technologies at an early age will better prepare students for the future.
"Payson is a very forward-looking district," she said. "They know what they need to do for their students."