Eastman donates laptops to assist students in need

Eastman’s Human Resources Manager Carl Ratliff dropped off the laptops donated by the company to Patrick Henry Community College’s Foundation. (Contributed photo)

This week, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) received a donation of 33 laptops from Eastman in Martinsville.

Functional and in good condition, the laptops were replaced by newer models during the company’s routine technology upgrade. The laptops will go to help students in need.

“We are proud to support PHCC students with these laptops,” said Steve DuVal, site manager for Eastman’s Henry County manufacturing operations. “These are challenging times for students at all levels of education. Having the right technology is critical to navigating the virtual learning of today and developing the skills to succeed in any field in the future.”

PHCC has been loaning laptops to students for many years, but the need this year was unparalleled. With many classes being offered online –or at last partly online— personal laptops have become even more critical for success. Many students do not own computers and many publicly accessible computers may not be available now. PHCC loaned out 27 laptops on the first day of the fall 2020 semester. By the end of the second week, that number had more than doubled, and the requests for a laptop continue.

Christy Tilley, PHCC’s Director of Student Success Services – the department responsible for the laptop loaner program said it is “critical to retention and completion of our students now more than ever because of COVID-19 forcing more and more students online. We’re doing everything to enhance the program, so we are grateful to our partners like Eastman.”

Seberina Tatum, one of PHCC’s Student Success Coaches, has largely been responsible for coordinating the laptop loaning program. After the rush of the first two weeks, Tatum said she was left with “a total of five laptops available to loan to currently enrolled students.”

The 33 additional laptops from Eastman will be a great help in restocking the inventory for students in need, she added.

“For the last seven years working in this role of loaner laptops, I have seen the gratefulness of students whose burdens were released because of the loaner laptops program. Eastman, I would personally like to thank you for your donation of laptops,” Tatum said. It’s great companies like you that see a need in the community and are willing to do their part to ensure that something is done about it.”


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