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Charter school gives each student laptops

By Associated Press
Jan. 7, 2014 at 10 p.m.

Lufkin's Pineywoods Community Academy has more than 100 students who attend high school and college who might have a better chance at being successful this year after the charter school armed each student with a computer.

Designated by the Texas Education Agency as an early college high school, PCA offers students the possibility of attaining an associate's degree by the time they graduate high school. The challenge for the school was offering the latest in technology to coordinate with Angelina College classes

That is where Technology Director Steve Horrocks comes in.

Horrocks said he understands high school students struggling with the decisions of what to do with their lives. He has been there.

Horrocks began his education wanting to be a psychologist, so he earned his bachelor of science degree in psychology. He realized later that he wanted to teach, and he did for a number of years.

When he discovered the opportunity to work at Pineywoods Community Academy in technology, he said he finally found his calling, and that is to help students discover their future and make sure they have the technology to be successful.

This year, the school decided to put that technology in the hands of every student enrolled in college - not just while they are at school, but also when they are at home.

"Not everyone can bring their own device to school, because not every one of our students have their own device," Horrocks said.

"So many people think we are a private school with only privileged students. That is not so. We may have a student who lives in the best neighborhood sitting next to a student who doesn't know if he is going to have enough food on the table for supper.

"We are a charter school and we are a designated as an early college high school."

Horrocks said the designation is a rare opportunity for the school as well as its students. While most high schools offer concurrent college classes for which students must pay beginning their junior year, PCA offers college classes beginning in ninth grade that are free to the students. The school recently added iPads and up-to-date programming in the school's two computer labs.



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