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Comanche students give tech support to teachers

COMANCHE  If a teacher in Comanche has a problem with a computer and needs tech support, it's very possible that the person who comes to address it will be a student.

That's because of a program launched this year that allows students interested in information technology to be aides to Curtis Shahan, the district's busy technology support director.

The students  Madison Leveille, a junior, and seniors Matt Dennis and Rydder Greenway  each spend a part of each school day responding to help requests sent out by teachers and administrators across the district. The teens have reset routers gone haywire for one reason or another. They've tracked down and fixed problems with connections between keyboards and monitors. They've cleaned mice to make them function smoothly. They've helped teachers to figure out problems with mobile devices and glitches with software used in lessons. They've reconfigured iPads gone awry, re-imaged complete systems for setup on hard drives and much more. 

Lately, when they haven't been answering calls in classrooms, the teens have been helping Shahan to get Chromebook laptops purchased by the district ready for use by Comanche Elementary School students. 

According to Shahan, calls for support are being answered much sooner these days, thanks to the "Tech Tribe," as the students are known. Whereas last year he might have been able to respond to 150 or 160 calls in a month, now he can address closer to 270.

But that's far from the only benefit. An even bigger one is that the students are getting some solid experience that could put them on paths to great careers. In fact, all three of Shahan's information technology assistants said they're planning professions that will involve computers, software and other technology. 

Leveille, who designed a logo adopted by the Tech Tribe, said she's interested in learning the latest software and becoming a graphic designer. Dennis is planning to go to Cameron University next year to study information management. Greenway, who already is studying electronics at the Red River Technology Center, is planning a move to Tulsa, where he'll study avionics at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology.

All three of the students said they've enjoyed learning from Shahan, putting what they've learned to practical use, and especially helping teachers and others. They've even been agreeable to responding to calls for help on their own time, Shahan noted.

"I've always been interested in technology and in knowing how things work," Dennis said. "And I like helping people, so this has been good."

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