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Friday, February 15, 2008

TJHSST Receives Sun Microsystems Servers and Workstations

A student-written grant has resulted in $388,341 worth of donated equipment from Sun Microsystems for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST). The student, senior William Yang, with help from junior Stephen Repetski, wrote the grant which will provide the school with several servers, and nearly 100 workstations for students to use. TJHSST is a Fairfax County public school.

The new servers will replace the existing servers (acquired through a Sun grant in 2002) which support the school’s Computer Science program, and plans are being considered to place the workstations around the TJHSST campus so that they would be usable by all students at the school. Initially, students in Advanced Placement Computer Science will be the primary users of the technology. Other considerations for the equipment are to create an experimental lab open to teachers and students interested in learning about the technology; to have students use the platform to test applications; to set up kiosks around the campus; and to make stations available in selected labs such as astronomy, prototyping, optics, and neurology. The technology is intuitive for basic browsing and word processing, but also has powerful capabilities beyond those of the average computer. 

Yang expressed an interest in Sun Microsystems technology as a freshman at TJHSST. Frustrated with the old equipment at the school, he researched Sun’s grant offerings and, with support from teachers Shane Torbert and Richard Washer, applied for the grant. Says Washer, “Students coming out of our program here at TJ who pursue academic and professional careers that use this kind of technology will be one step further ahead having used this technology.” Washer adds that offering TJ students access to multiple technologies often ends up with the students exploring and defining new and unpredicted uses for it.

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Note: For more information, contact Richard Washer at richard.washer@fcps.edu.