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Berkeley students receive donated laptops from Lighthouse Connect

From left, Kimberley Jackson, Mirrors Programme manager, student Zayne Sinclair, head boy Andreaz Glasgow, student Seth Hardtman, Berkeley principal Keisha Douglas, and Thomas Olunloyo, L&G Re CEO (Photograph supplied)

Lighthouse Connect, an education-focused fund launched by Legal & General Reinsurance, is on track to deliver more than 230 laptops to Bermuda’s public-school students this academic year.

A spokesman for the company said machines that have not yet been handed over to students are either on order or fully funded.

Last week, The Berkeley Institute students received 20 laptops. Lighthouse Connect partnered with the Berkeley Parent Teacher Student Association to supply the devices, after the school identified students in urgent need. The laptops were delivered days before the return to remote learning for students of the high school caused by an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Established by L&G Re last May, the Lighthouse Connect fund is hosted by the Bermuda Community Foundation and is run in partnership with the Mirrors Programme to raise funds to provide free laptops to all Bermuda public-school students to support their education through the pandemic and beyond.

L&G Re provided the initial funding for Lighthouse Connect, which purchases Ministry of Education approved laptops for public-school students. Procurement of the laptops occurs in stages as funds are raised and laptops are distributed in order of need, a process managed by the Mirrors Programme.

Thomas Olunloyo, chief executive officer of L&G Re, and Kimberley Jackson, Mirrors Programme manager, handed over the laptops to Berkeley principal Keisha Douglas, who was joined by head boy Andreaz Glasgow, and fellow students Seth Hardtman and Zayne Sinclair representing the student body.

Lighthouse Connect addresses the increased need for digital learning tools during the Covid-19 pandemic, while also contributing to the long-term learning of Bermuda public school students. The initiative allows companies and individuals to contribute to the purchase of technology resources in a coordinated and cohesive manner, providing equipment suitable for schools.

“We are delighted to help provide these laptops to students of The Berkeley Institute so they can continue their learning safely, especially as coronavirus cases among children increase and remote learning returns,” Mr Olunloyo said.

He said digital learning tools are necessary now more than ever and will remain so after the island recovers from the pandemic.

“This generation of students has experienced significant disruption to their education, and we must make every effort to fully equip them with the tools they need to stay on track and achieve their dreams,” he said. “Our ambition is to do what we can to ensure no student is left behind.”

“Lighthouse Connect aligns perfectly with the overall focus of the Mirrors Programme, to empower students to achieve their full potential in school and life,” Ms Jackson said. “We are proud to be involved with supplying these laptops to Bermuda’s public-school students. We are grateful to L & G Re for launching and providing initial funding for the project and to additional donors, who have shown their support for this worthy initiative.”

Ms Douglas was grateful for the donated laptops.

“It allows us to keep our young people whole,” she said. “We could not do it without such financial support. Our students will be blessed to continue their technical education, which is a must in present times. Thanks to Lighthouse Connect for supporting us and our students.”

Mr Glasgow said it brought him great joy to receive the laptops for Berkeley students.

“This donation represents Berkeley’s continued commitment to working with its community partners,” he said. “As the African proverb says, ’it takes a village to raise a child’. Our community partners are our village and the diverse student body are our children. During these unsettling times, donations like these give our students motivation and drive to always continue to ‘keep the end in view’.”

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Published March 25, 2021 at 4:04 pm (Updated March 25, 2021 at 4:40 pm)

Berkeley students receive donated laptops from Lighthouse Connect

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