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As the pandemic highlights educational inequality, the Calgary teen is raising money for technology for all students – Calgary

Learning online has been a struggle for many Calgary families who do not have the money to buy computers or internet access.

Now a student from Calgary is doing his part to help narrow that digital divide.

Jayce Farris is fortunate that he always had internet access and a computer when the pandemic forced his high school classes to go online. But he knows that not all students are so lucky.

“It’s really instructive to see that there are people in our city who are in this kind of need and I think it’s important that we all come together to help,” Farris said on Sunday.

“I saw that there was a way I could help and I realized that there was a massive need for it.”

The 12th grade student at All Saints High School started a fundraiser and sold sacks of locally roasted coffee. A portion of the proceeds went to the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation to meet the growing need for technology during the pandemic.

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50 percent of the donations will then be matched by Shaw Birdies for Kids, presented by AltaLink.

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“I think it should be a concern for everyone, whatever school you are in, that the children are well supported,” said Janet Lymer, executive director of the CCEF.

Children take advantage of technology at St. Matthew School in Calgary in February 2021.

Courtesy of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation

CCEF is raising funds for students in the Catholic School District of Calgary, replacing the casino fundraiser that closed in 2008 because it is viewed as a social injustice in the Catholic faith.

Catholic schools could raise far less money for things like technology than their Calgary Board of Education counterparts.

“From a fundraising perspective, there is definitely inequality,” said Lymer.

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She said the pandemic had created a greater need for technology as fundraising became increasingly difficult.

“The mental stress these children go through, which is then compounded by the fact that they are unable to learn at the same pace as their peers, is a social injustice. I see inequality in education when children don’t have access to technology to learn. We’ll put them behind the eight, ”said Lymer.

Children take advantage of technology at St. Matthew School in Calgary in February 2021.

Courtesy of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation

Lymer said she would like to see the community take it one step further.

“We keep seeing appeals for natural disasters. This is one, ”said Lymer.

“We rely on students to learn from their cell phones. How is that conducive to learning? I think we as a society have a responsibility to make sure we don’t abandon our youth. “

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In December, the CCEF made over $ 75,000 in grants to help purchase items like Chromebooks. However, the organization had to decline school inquiries totaling $ 175,000.

The CCEF received inquiries from 50 of the 118 CCSD schools for over $ 250,000 in 2020.

Of that, technology accounted for more than $ 160,000, with a focus on Chromebooks and tablets – items that are vital for students who are focused on online learning, Lymer said.

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