Grant program provides free internet to Norfolk students

A number of students live daily without having internet at their home, forcing some them to spend their evenings at the library.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) - A number of students live daily without having internet at their home, forcing some them to spend their evenings at the library.

It's an issue Norfolk Public Schools and a local company noticed and are solving the problem by introducing a new grant program.

"It’s a reality that a lot of people don't understand,” explained Vice Chair of the School Board, Dr. Noelle Gabriel.

It's a problem many kids face. Students at Booker T Washington High School have iPads, provided by the school, but many don't have a way to connect online at home.

Toquana Speller said, "I’ll go take a little trip down to the library."

Speller is just one of those students. Every day after school, she walks there alone because she says her family simply can't afford internet.

"She works hard but she wants to get our clothes and our shoes and she doesn't have time to get cable and stuff like that," explained Speller.

Wednesday was the last day she will have to travel get her online work done. Norfolk Public Schools is teaming up with Sprint on a new grant program called the 1 Million Project.

Norfolk Public Schools and Sprint will roll out 300 smartphones, tablets and hotspots to 9th grade students at multiple schools who really need it.

"They will be able to do things like access their online textbooks, do enrichment programs with their homework."

Speller is more than excited.

"It's going to help me be more successful in life by doing my stuff on time," explained Speller.

Once the student graduates high school, the student will have to give the device back to the school. It will then be given to another student.

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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