New Shea Family Technology Center at St. John the Baptist School offers new opportunities for students.It’s fitting that a breezy courtyard crossroad at St. John the Baptist School — which connects classrooms of lower and upper grades — is also now connecting students to an advanced technological future.It’s here that the new Shea Family Technology Center is guiding the 350 K-8 students at the Baldwin Park campus into the intricacies of the digital age — and according to staff and administrators, it’s not a moment too soon.“Our old computer lab had computers that were more than 10 years old,” said computer teacher Elizabeth Franco. “I can’t believe that we have this wonderful newly remodeled space. It is such a gift to our students.”In addition to a re-haul of the computer lab — which included 28 new Hewlett Packard wireless computers with touchscreen capabilities, server and network system — this school year is also welcoming SMART Boards in every classroom, new laptops for the teachers and a Kindergarten computer center. Overall, the $150,000 donation is the largest single donation to the school in its 60-year history.The gift from the Shea Family was very much unexpected, but very much appreciated, especially at the official blessing and dedication of the computer lab which gave the students an opportunity to express their thankfulness to John and Dorothy Shea in person.“It all happened rather providential,” said Sister of the Love of God Rosario Mediavilla, principal. Early this year, she noted, “Mr. Shea came to see me and asked to see our computer lab and classrooms. I didn’t reach out to him at all. They came to me!”The result of that meeting was a promise from the Sheas to bring the school technologically up-to-date. Work began in April with the Kindergarten classroom receiving new touch screen computers. During the summer, the old lab was — with the help of dedicated school parents — remodeled, installed and outfitted into an easy, clean configuration that makes Franco proud.“This is propelling us so much more forward,” she says. “The kids love the touch screens and all our software is the latest version. We are better preparing our students for high school, college and beyond.”Students got a chance to meet the Sheas at the dedication ceremony where they prayed and sang songs together. “We are blessed to have this new lab and we will make sure to use the computers wisely,” said student council president Angelo Domingo. “We promise to take care of them and learn from them for years to come.”Father Mike Gutierrez, pastor, blessed all those involved in the endeavor and, as he blessed each computer, introduced to the new lab to the public.Students then took their seats and began working at their new computer stations, easily manipulating the screen with a finger touch or a click of a wire-free mouse. Franco walked among the students who were engaged in their work or helping fellow students grasp a concept. “What I love about this technology is that it is so easy to share with one another,” she said. “I learn things from the kids every day!”Sister Mediavilla welcomes the new technology as a touchstone to the school’s 60th anniversary this year. “This is a proud occasion,” she said. “What a way to begin a school year!”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/1019/sgtech/{/gallery}