North Carolina A&T Donates 100 Laptops to Operation Xcel

By East L. Dockery / 08/22/2023 Information Technology Services, Alumni, Employees

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 22, 2023) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has donated 100 laptops to local nonprofit Operation Xcel in advance of the 2023-24 academic year.

Operation Xcel engages students, parents, and the community to increase educational, social, and career skills through academic enrichment, parenting, and advocacy empowerment workshops.

“We’re very thrilled that we can help the local community and provide some resources for these students during the summer,” said Tom Jackson, N.C. A&T’s vice chancellor of information technology and chief information officer.

Since 2008, Operation Xcel has been working to provide access to and tools for technology literacy. The organization equips students academically, socially, physically and emotionally through its future-focused after school STEM program. Guided by compassion, integrity, a strong work ethic and a dedication to community betterment through their academic enrichment programs, Operation Xcel aims to impact youth.

“Operation Xcel is a place where learners are inspired to excel in every area of their lives and to make meaningful changes in the world,” said Charlene Gladney ‘91, Operation Xcel executive director. “We demonstrate our commitment to providing equal access to quality educational resources, to supporting diversity of thought, to creating a strong foundation for the development of lifelong learners to fostering civic engagement and to encouraging career mindfulness.”

Operation Xcel services students who attend Title I schools in the greater Triad area, including Jackson Middle School, Jamestown Middle School, Jackson Street Global Academies, Eastern Middle School and Swan Middle School.

“We service Title I students,” Gladney said. “So, this means they are low-income and we’re in schools where reading and math proficiency is very low, like 30% to 40% are reading on grade level.”

The laptops A&T donated will allow Operation Xcel to perform reading and math assessments on students and contribute to their learning overall while they are in the program.

“We do reading and math assessments to see where they are in those areas,” Gladney said. “They can use the computers after school during the school year for their homework assignments and we will use them in our social emotional learning activities and possibly our enrichment activities.”

The laptops will remain the property of Operation Xcel so that when one student graduates the next student will be able to use the laptop throughout their time in the program.

In addition to assisting students academically, Operation Xcel aims to give them experiences that will expand their world view.

“They don’t get the opportunities that middle-class and upper-class people get to go to in terms of exposure,” Gladney said. “We take them on field trips, to the International Civil Rights Museum, college tours to campuses such as A&T, and we even took some to the beach to explore the marsh lands and the science behind that.”

“By growing up in southeast Greensboro and being able to give back this way, it’s been a great experience,” said Sheila J. Allen, A&T’s director of IT project management business operations. “I’m happy to be a part of that experience and for the chancellor (Harold L. Martin Sr.) allowing us to do this with the equipment that we were going to dispose of. It’s been a very good experience.”

“We really need the community support,” Gladney said. “It’s a lot that adds up but it is definitely doable and if we have a lot of community support, it will add up to serve the population that we serve.”

Media Contact Information: eldockery@ncat.edu

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