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Help is at hand at BC High

With budget cuts looming and needed technical repairs increasing, Bethlehem High School’s Tech Services Department had an idea. Why not establish a student help desk similar to ones already in place a

Spencer Green, 16, works on a lap top as a participant of Bethlehem High School’s Student Help Desk internship

Spencer Green, 16, works on a lap top as a participant of Bethlehem High School’s Student Help Desk internship Photo by Marcy Velte.

— With budget cuts looming and needed technical repairs increasing, Bethlehem High School’s Tech Services Department had an idea. Why not establish a student help desk similar to ones already in place at many colleges and universities?

“Students are digital natives, having grown up with much of the technology that exists today,” said Chief Technology Officer Sal DeAngelo. “We have chosen to tap their innate comfort with technology to create a program where they can build skills and earn credits, while providing tech support to fellow students, teachers and other so-called digital immigrants.”

The program is now in its second year and has already been deemed a success. Overseen by the school’s two network and system engineers.

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Garry DeGonza, 16, helps fix a school computer.

more than 45 students applied this year to be a part of the team.

“Since this is all about getting students prepared for the real, working world, they go through an interview process,” said Navaar Johnson, one of the district’s engineers who helps oversee the internship.

The students were asked simple, but important questions about why they applied for the job, what their skill-set was and were told what was expected of them. A total of 15 students were hired this year, with three more expected to be brought on next semester.

“Now in its second year, the student help desk has been a win-win for the district and for the students who staff it,” said DeAngelo.

Sixteen students were hired last year.

The students go through a two-day training session before school starts for the year to learn about the types of repairs they will be doing and a lesson in having good customer service skills. They are also taught how to use the digital ticket system teachers and staff use to submit reports for items that need repairs.

Students learn a multitude of tasks, from changing printer cartridges and changing projector light bulbs to fixing cellular phones and upgrading software. Many of the students make new friends, and get to interact with other students and teachers from different grade levels.

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