Processing from Holy Name of Jesus Church behind a trio of young drummers into the bright sunlight, people gathered for an infrastructure ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the dawning of a new technology era at the Los Angeles parish’s elementary school Sept. 24. The 200-member student body, faculty, parents and guests clapped and cheered as Father Paul Spellman, pastor, clipped the white ribbon stretched across the schoolyard, monitored by new surveillance cameras recently installed as part of a partnership project coordinated through the archdiocese’s C3 (Catholic Communication Collaboration) Pilot program.Holy Name of Jesus School has been revitalized with new technology infrastructure, a new security/communication system and a donation of 28 laptop computers made possible with a nearly $200,000 investment shared by three major donors: Archdiocese/C3; The John and Dorothy Shea Family; and Hewlett-Packard. The project at Holy Name is the first time that resources and partnerships established through the C3 Pilot were brought together in a comprehensive manner to support a non-C3 designated location. The investment in technology infrastructure facilitates Holy Name’s participation, along with St. Bernard School (Glassell Park), in a Hewlett-Packard pilot study testing the efficacy of customized computer learning management systems.Speaking in the church where the ceremonies began with a rousing prelude from the school’s Rainbow Choir and Praise Dancers, C-3 consultant Christine Whelan pointed out that “there is nothing but excellence in this school, everywhere, from the teachers to the students.“Now, thanks to the generosity of so many people, this school is state of the art,” continued Whelan. “We have a brand new infrastructure; we have gleaming new computers for the eighth graders. We’ve got teachers who are ready to roll with new ways of learning. It’s very exciting.”“We’re very happy to partner with Hewlett-Packard and the archdiocese to be able to provide the school [with] infrastructure [and] technology that many other schools have,” said Dan O’Melveny, on behalf of the John and Dorothy Shea Family. “We hope you will be great stewards of that gift and work extremely hard, like you always have, to embrace technology and to continue to do great things in the classroom.”John Johasky, from Hewlett-Packard, urged students to embrace the new technology tools available to them. “I go to schools on a daily basis, and it’s truly amazing to see how technology is changing the way students are learning and teachers are teaching,” said Johasky. “It truly is needed [for accessing] information and getting the necessary tools to be successful not only in school but to prepare yourself for the next part of your life [which] is critical.”Marva Belisle, principal, told The Tidings that students and teachers are excited about having faster Internet access in the school, which has a computer lab where students can do a lot of interactive online projects. “It completely changes the way our students learn; it changes the way that the teachers teach, because now they have access so they’re going online,” said Belisle. “The kids are excited, the teachers are excited — it’s best to be excited about learning.”Simona Smith, eighth grade teacher, said that having the laptops available for each eighth grader has boosted the students’ educational experience. “They’re motivated to go beyond what is given to them,” said Smith. “To me, this is having a great impact on our students for the 21st century.”Eighth grader Sydney Addison said having laptops enhances learning by allowing access to information on educational websites. “I like how we can use the computer for any subject and not have any problems with textbooks, [like] pages ripped out,” commented Addison. “I also like how we use it to work with each other, and we get to learn how to work and teach each other what we didn’t know.”Fellow eighth grader Sencere Watson is happy to have the new computers. “I feel that the computers help us be a little bit more in touch and go further into our lessons, because it helps with reports and papers,” said Watson, who added that his family is installing Wi-Fi so he will be able to use the laptop at home.Jamie Smith, another eighth grader, likes the laptops “a lot because they’re very useful, and it’s good to change things up. Now that we have a whole new system,” she added, “it runs much faster.”Anthony Braithwaite, a 1999 Holy Name alumnus who works as an aide on campus, is impressed by the school’s technology improvements resulting in increased connectivity. “I was really excited during the whole ceremony and really happy to see the school advancing and continuing to grow and get better,” said Braithwaite.Neighborhood native Henry Grayson, who remembers when Holy Name of Jesus was built, said the recent technology and security improvements to the campus are “absolutely unbelievable. This is very nice: the security, Wi-Fi, the computers, screens. This is state-of-the-art. It’s more than an upgrade.”“I think this school has really pioneered,” commented John Reyes, director of educational technology for the archdiocesan Department of Catholic Schools. “I think they’re really leading the way in terms of providing that Internet access, and we believe that technology and wireless Internet should be ubiquitous — invisible but essential. I think this school has made a really huge leap in achieving that goal because of the generous support that we’ve had.”Deacon Jim Carper, Holy Name’s director of marketing and development, praised the partnership resulting in a much improved parish campus.“We have this beautiful infrastructure, where we can [handle] 500 devices,” commented Carper. “This will carry us for at least ten years.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1004/holyname/{/gallery}