Amrita Lakhanpal, a sophomore at Altamont School, volunteers her time by teaching girls computer coding during the summer at EPIC Elementary School in Birmingham. She also teaches an afterschool speech class.
She wanted to do more.
Lakhanpal started a letter-writing campaign to businesses seeking monetary donations to help her buy laptops for the school. During her time at the school, she noticed what little technology the Birmingham city school had was outdated. The school currently has two sets of 5-year-old iPads that teachers have to check out.
The high school student raised $12,000 that will be used to buy 60 new Chromebooks for EPIC Elementary School. The funds will also help purchase two storage and charging carts for the new laptops.
Lakhanpal will present the check to school leaders on Monday, according to Birmingham City Schools.
EPIC Principal Eleanor Stokes said the new laptops will broaden the school’s technology base, allowing students to use the Chromebooks for testing, small group instruction, reading comprehension strategies and Google classroom. Everyone at EPIC will be able to use them, she said.
“I think that this is absolutely wonderful. She is indeed a leader among her peers,” Stokes said. “I hope we can take this and run with it and give back to the community ourselves.”
Lakhanpal also challenged businesses to not only give money but to encourage employees to volunteer.
“Once the laptops have been purchased, I want to start a coding club for the fifth graders at EPIC Elementary,” she wrote to potential donors. “At this point, I would love for some of your employees to come see the students working with the laptops, and possibly even consider volunteering themselves. I hope you will help me and the students at EPIC Elementary, who through the use of these laptops, will increase their confidence, independence and productivity as learners.
“I believe this laptop initiative will provide the students with the technology and opportunity to prepare them for the challenges of the 21st century learner,” Amrita said in her letter, which included two photos of students from her computer classes at EPIC.