Principal Carrie Webb of Signal Hill Elementary School heard two of her students needed computers. For one month, she kept her ears and eyes open, until she found the solution.

“I think I might have been the first one. I jumped on that and said, ‘We need two of them,’ because I knew of the two families that would need them,” said Webb.

Webb received an email from Principal Andy Jacks of Ashland Elementary School, asking fellow faculty members whether their students were in need of the technology. Since then, Webb has received two refurbished computers — fixed up by Ashland fifth grade students.

“I wish every student could have a computer, truthfully. I mean, I wish I could’ve said, ‘I need 750 of them,'” said Webb.

The refurbished computers are part of the Virginia Star program, started by Ashland Elementary and Prince William County Public Schools three years ago. Since then, participating students have fixed about 150 computers. 

“My dad works with computers so it’s really cool for us to both talk about computers and stuff and how we’re both doing the same thing,” said Claire Denny, who says she’d like to go into computer science one day. 

The kids “nuke” the computers — or wipe them clean of any remaining data. They clean them of dust. They install Windows 10 and shortcuts to Microsoft and Google. 

For students, it’s a bonding experience; it’s a lesson in technology, and it’s a lesson in life.

“I love being able to help people with this program for people and schools that don’t have as many computers and as many opportunities to use technology,” said Denny.