Saturday, February 27, 1999

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Glenn Matsuwaka shows some of the 20 computers
that the Navy donated to Farrington High School. The
Navy has donated more than 500 computers since they
began upgrading their system with new Pentium models.

Navy gives hundreds
of surplus computers
to 15 public schools

By Gregg K. Kakesako


The Navy and Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard have touched the hearts of students and teachers at more than 15 public schools by donating 523 surplus computers.

Janice Yoneda of Haleiwa Elementary School, which received 30 personal computers, monitors and printers, said, "With diminishing resources and a crippling economy in the state of Hawaii, your efforts to supplement our school's current technology will contribute toward our efforts to prepare students for the 21st century."

Glenn Matsuwaka, Farrington High School social studies department head, noted he requested 15 and ended up with five more than he requested.

"It's more than adequate for our needs," said Matsuwaka who estimated that all of Farrington's 2,000 students eventually have to take social studies and will get to use the computers.

Keith Hayashi, Waipahu High School vice principal, said the 30 computers he requested will be used in four different areas.

Waipahu students are being asked to prepare personal portfolios, which will contain resume, personal statement, career goals and evidence of any personal accomplishments, Hayashi said.

"They will be able to use this information for job interviews, college applications or applying for scholarships," Hayashi said.

The Navy's computers will be placed in the school's career center to join nine machines already there and will be accessible to all students. "Eventually, we hope to have all of Waipahu's 2,000 students with personal portfolios."

Other computers will replace existing older ones in the school's computer lab and also will be placed in classrooms to help at-risk students.

Hayashi said some of the computers will be utilized in another program where Waipahu students are responsible for planning, designing, building and wiring a computer laboratory.

Chief Stephen Thomas, supervisor of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility's computer department, said that 523 486 IBM-clone PC computers have been donated to public schools since last April.

"Another 60 will be distributed over the next few weeks," Thomas said, "and 400 more by the end of the year."

The 486 machines are being phased out of the system at Pearl Harbor as the Navy converts to faster Pentium computers. More than 2,500 computers will be replaced under a conversion program that began 18 months ago, said Stephen Sasaki, assistant head of Pearl Harbor's information operations.

But the Navy is only authorized to donate used computers to the public schools and has had to reject requests from churches and private schools, said John Harris, chief of Pearl Harbor's information operations.

Before Pearl Harbor initiated the donation program, old or broken machines were turned over to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office for disposal and reuse by other agencies.

The largest donation so far has been to August Aherns Elementary School, which was the first to ask and received the most equipment: 100 computers.

There was never any formal announcement, Harris said. "Some schools wrote to us by chance. Others heard about the program from friends in the shipyard."

That's how Matsuwaka learned about the program. Two Pearl Harbor engineers told him he should send in a request.

At Waipahu, Lillian Yonamine, the school's counselor, was told about the program by her son, Ken, who works as an engineer at Pearl Harbor and who read about it in a Navy newspaper. "He told her that she should write and see if we could get a few," Hayashi said.

Sasaki said the PCs will help students develop skills they will need later on. Although the majority of the computers in the schools are Macintosh models, "it's PCs and Windows-based applications in private business," Sasaki said.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin