A Generation Hope teacher believes McLean Middle School students involved in a laptop program enhance their likelihood of attending college in the future.

“The kids take this program very seriously. They know that having this opportunity will greatly increase their chances of getting the best education possible.” James Vestuto, a Generation Hope teacher who works with McLean students four days a week said. “This program is really gearing these students up for a strong foundation to take their educations to the highest possible level with the ultimate goal of a college education.”

Ali Reidy, an eighth grade student at McLean Middle School said he has had an overall fun experience in the Generation Hope Laptop Program.

"I enjoy the program," he said. "I think it gives me an advantage for the classes I will take in high school."

The program is impacting students from McLean 6th Grade Center as well as McLean Middle School in the 76109. At each school, up to 25 students are selected to the program per grade and per year through a vigorous application process. The process includes an essay portion, teacher or counselor recommendations, or in many cases, individual interviews.

The program, founded in 2009 by Roy C. Brooks, who serves as the Tarrant County Commissioner of Precinct 1, is a three-year college preparatory Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics or (STEM) based middle school education program that has served more than 500 low-income, middle grades students in Tarrant County.

Up to 75 students in a middle school can become a part of Generation Hope. And, as part of the program, each student is provided with a fully functional tablet computer with Windows 7 operating system, Microsoft Office.

Students have the opportunity to receive a laptop at the completion of the three-year program.

 “Our students are provided with a program that greatly increases their likelihood of going to college, which, for these communities, sees a very low rate of enrollment and high rates of poverty and crime,” said Jonathan Davis, program director for Generation Hope. “We provide students with additional opportunities with state and national competitions, scholarships, summer courses, and transportation all at no cost to the family.”

This program is impacting Tarrant County as a whole, but Davis said McLean Middle School in the 109 has had one of the longest partnerships with students in this program.

“Students at McLean Sixth Grade Center and McLean Middle as a part of Generation Hope, who enjoy one of the longer partnerships, take part in various project based learning projects, are involved in the Texas Alliance of Minorities in Engineering Regional and State Competitions, go on field trips such as TCU, Fort Worth Sister Cities International and Healthy Living and Lifestyles as a part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.,” he said. “I would say that the students are benefiting greatly from the program.”

For information about how to become involved in the program as an employee or volunteer, contact Jonathan Davis at [email protected] .

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