South Bend students gifted Wifi surprise

NOW: South Bend students gifted Wifi surprise

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Good Morning America visited 5 school districts around the country Wednesday morning, surprising over 15,000 student households with free internet connectivity. One of those districts, being the South Bend Community School Corporation.

“I thought we were just highlighting the WiFi buses and the work that they’ve been doing in our community,” Riley High School Principal Shawn Henderson said.

This school year has faced many challenges during the pandemic, one of the challenges being unreliable internet access for students doing virtual learning at home.

To help these students, SBCSC equipped 36 school buses across town with WiFi hotspots.

“We believe that the internet is a basic human right, and so whatever we can do to extend that and putting WiFi on our fleet, enables families to have access to the internet and students to have access to E-learning,” South Bend Community School Corporation Superintendent Todd Cummings said.

According to the Center of Democracy and Technology, of the 50 million students learning virtually, around 16 million lack sufficient internet connection

Some South Bend students said that they’ve experienced this struggle themselves.

“At my house we have 5 people who are all in school so wifi can be really slow sometimes,” Riley High School Senior Jaicyn Williams said.

“I have a lot of people in my household too that are in all different grades so if we’re ever having there’s always a bus somewhere near us,” Riley High School senior Lylianah Bueno said.

GMA didn’t just visit to shine light on the districts hard work, but to also help students out even further, surprising the district with a gift of 1,400 free T-Mobile WiFi hotspots for student households and a check for 20,000 dollars to help fund teacher projects.

“For us to have a population of about 30% of our students not receiving internet access and for the blessing that they’ve given the south bend community school corporation it’s amazing and we’re honored,” Henderson said.

South Bend students said that they feel just the same.

“I was really surprised and thankful that they’re doing that for us honestly,” Williams said.

“It’s not just Riley it’s all the other schools, middle schools, elementary schools that are all getting the access to the WiFi that they need if they don’t have it,” Bueno said.

Cummings said that the money gifted from GMA will be used to provide even more hotspots to families in South Bend.

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