KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Wednesday, WATE 6 On Your Side partnered up with Project GRAD Knoxville to raise money for students in need of a laptop with the 3rd Annual Project Grad Laptop Telethon.

A total of $61,565 was raised for deserving scholars.

Project GRAD has partnered with Knox County Schools, the community (and now Knox Education Foundation), for nearly two decades to help increase the graduation rate of students in Knoxville’s center city.

Project GRAD operates in Fulton and Austin East High Schools, but the program targets student success throughout their entire academic careers by offering resources and support at the elementary and middle levels to 12 feeder Knox Ed Foundation Community schools.

When the program began in 2001, the high school graduation rate at Project GRAD schools was 50%. Today, it’s 83%. Postsecondary enrollment has also increased, growing from 30 percent to 56 percent for total graduating classes.

Learn More: Project GRAD Knoxville

While Project GRAD gives students who complete the program a $4,000 college scholarship, there isn’t enough in the budget for an important tool for college: A computer. Now more than any time before, a student’s success depends on access to technology.