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.

— “It’s really great experience for the future,” said Justin Brown, the district’s senior network and systems engineer. “This could eventually open them up to become a part of their college student help desk.”

The program is open to all students in 10th grade and higher. Students can participate more than once, but can only get internship credit for one year. They work during study halls or lunch, so as not to disrupt their typical schedule.

Brown said a volunteer speaker from IBM comes in to speak with the participating students at certain times of the year. The hope is for the program to become an IBM-certified internship so they can get funding from the tech company in the future to expand.

Johnson said that with the students taking over some of the department’s less-involved tasks at the high school, there is more time to focus on the other schools as technology use expands at the lower levels.

“Hopefully by putting these students in an environment like this early, they’ll have an advantage over their peers once they get to college,” said Brown.

Garry DeGonza, a sophomore participating in the program for the first time, said he wanted to do the internship last year but had to wait.

“I’ve been interested in tech and gadgets since I was little, so this has been interesting,” said DeGonza.

The 16-year-old said he liked going into classrooms to help teachers. He was also able to get more experience working with Mac computers because he grew up around PC’s.

“A lot of my friends ask me about it and seem like they want to apply next year,” said DeGonza.

The Student Help Desk is also involved in helping develop Office365, an internal e-mail service for high school students and staff to help them coordinate assignments or group projects.

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