The idea of making an animated film would be a daunting task for most adults. But for a class of fifth-graders in Granville County, presenting their claymation version of tall tales and myths at the annual Technology Exposition was one of their most fun and memorable class projects yet.

What began on a Post-It note six years ago, the Expo has developed into the primary initiative of the Technology Committee of the Granville Education Foundation. This 15-member team of volunteers from the foundation’s board, the business community, and the school technology staff, has been working diligently in close partnership with the school system to bring a wealth of human, technical, and financial resources to the table that serves the needs of the Granville County schools.

“This Committee epitomizes what business and community involvement can mean to a school system,” says Thomas J Williams, retired Granville County Superintendant.

The Techno Expo is a demonstration of their collaborative success. Parents, teachers, community leaders, and elected officials all come together to support the students at this free exhibition, made possible by corporate sponsors such as Time Warner Cable and Revlon. The event showcases how students from kindergarten through 12th grade are using technology in the classroom to support active learning.

“The kids take on some huge projects that are a lot of fun and the Committee just loves to see them proudly display their creations,” says Shields Blackwell, Executive Director of the Granville Education Foundation. Students demonstrate projects using Claymation, the digital art of animating clay figures, PowerPoint, web design, photography, video, and even robotics.
In addition to the Expo, another initiative close to the hearts of Committee members is their new Success Through Technology Grants. In an effort to put cutting-edge technology in the hands of students, the Committee has just awarded a total of $20,000 to two high schools and middle schools.

“Putting money directly into teachers’ hands is very rewarding, as it allows them to invest in things they otherwise cannot get and the students cannot afford,” says Blackwell.
For Jack Deason, chair of the Technology Committee, one of the most rewarding projects the Committee has taken on is assisting the technology department in making a network map of each school. This project is saving the school system an estimated $75,000.

Beyond the diversity of their initiatives and their committed strategic approach, it is the focus on partnership that has made the work of this group so effective and deserving of this award.

“We have an effective partnership between the local businesses and industry, the volunteers from the community who want to help the schools, and of course the school system themselves,” says Deason. “It’s just been a great partnership, because the more we get interested folks to participate, and we’ve been successful at that, the more leverage we have to take on more things.”

The Technology Committee has literally affected the lives of thousands of students through its Techno Expo, grants, tutoring, the network mapping of schools, and garnering support from the business community. The impact of this small, but growing, group of thoughtful citizens will be felt for many years to come.

“We’re glad to be recognized, but more importantly to get the word out that a little bit of team work, a little bit of involvement, and a good partnership can go a long way,” says Deason.