WL 8th grader helps students gain access to technology at home

West Lafayette eighth grader Ava Hallberg saw a disadvantage for her fellow students, and she decided to do something about it.

Posted: Apr 9, 2019 4:13 AM
Updated: Apr 9, 2019 10:21 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Technology is a major part of most school curriculums, but not every student has access to computers or electronic devices at home.

West Lafayette eighth grader Ava Hallberg saw this as a disadvantage for her fellow students, and she decided to do something about it.

"I really wanted to be able to help people," Hallberg said.

Hallberg's call to help came in the form of technology.

"I thought computers would be a great way to do so because it would give people an equal opportunity for their education," she added.

Hallberg said computers are a big part of the school day, and that continues once she gets home.

That's why she created CaptioTech.

"Captio is the root of a Latin word that means smart or intelligent and then we put it with tech because that's what we're based around," she explained.

Halberg started collecting gently used, 2014 or newer computers and refurbishing them. With help from parents and school staff, she's been able to wipe them clean and install the apps needed for students who don't have computers at home.

School counselor Courtney Murtaugh said it's not uncommon for students to skip recess or stay after school in order to get computer access.

"The kids want to use the technology, and we make that possible however we can at school, but know they'd like to be able to go home and do it as well," said Murtaugh.

Thanks to Hallberg's efforts, six students in the West Lafayette Community School Corporation have been given computers at no cost.

But they still need donations.

"Please consider donating them," said Hallberg. "They'd be put to use and the more computers we get, the more people we can help."

Since its start in August, three other students have joined CaptioTech. It will soon become an official non-profit organization, and the experience has taught the middle schooler a valuable lesson.

"Anybody can make a difference," said Hallberg.

Murtaugh helps CaptioTech find students in need, but she said students can still reach out if they don't have a computer at home.

To learn more about CaptioTech, click here.

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