Project Grad students share their plans for the future

Positively Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — More than 100 Project Grad students are beginning their college careers with brand new laptops, thanks to so many of you who supported our 4th annual Project Grad Laptop Telethon back in May.

The best part of this effort is seeing the laptops go into the hands of hardworking students from Austin East and Fulton High Schools. Each smile, each story of gratitude, touches our hearts. Laptop distribution day came in time for fall semester classes.

Students came in one by one to provide proof of enrollment before getting to take a laptop home. Thanks to your generosity last spring, our laptop telethon brought in a record $75,000. It sends a strong message of support especially during the pandemic and gun violence taking the lives of too many young people in East Knoxville.

“When our community says ‘l believe in this,’ they’re saying to our young people, ‘I believe in you.’ And that message to young people, many who navigate concentrated challenges, for a community to say ‘I see how hard you’re working and I believe in you and I’m willing to invest in you,'” said Ronni Chandler, Executive Director of Project Grad.

Students picking up their laptops were eager to share their plans for the future with us. “What my next steps are: I’m going to Pellissippi State Community College and I’m starting to study special education,” said Alexandria Turner, Project Grad scholar.

Tarik Ahmed, another graduate of the program, said, “I’m going to UT in the fall and I’ll be studying political science and economics.”

We join these students and Project Grad staff in saying thank you, East Tennessee, for stepping up to support these deserving kids. If you’d like to learn more about Project Grad Knoxville, visit:

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