By Gale Fiege Herald Writer
STANWOOD — Mark Shepler’s son Alex came home earlier this year, sad that not everyone at school had a computer to use.
Shepler couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “So I visited Twin City Elementary School,” Shepler said. “He was right. Most of the computers were outdated and didn’t work. And many of the 335 kids at Twin City don’t have computers at home. In this era of technology, this wasn’t a good thing. I thought we could do something about it.”
Shepler figured if he could raise $16,500, he could buy 30 new computers for his son’s school. He went door to door and raised the money in 15 days. But it didn’t stop there. In 34 days, Shepler had come up with $43,000.
“It’s all about community,” Shepler said. “Stanwood is a very generous place.”
The manager of Walmart in Arlington offered the sale of computers at cost, stretching the money that had been raised, Shepler said.
Shepler’s computer committee was able to buy 33 Toshiba 17-inch lap-top computers, 28 Apple computers with new monitors, six iPads and 30 iPad covers with keyboards, three high-definition projectors and three iTVs. Additionally, 12 Apple computers were donated specifically for teacher use.
On Wednesday, the computers were delivered to the school and unveiled at a surprise assembly for the students of Twin City. Each classroom will get three or four of the new laptops and much of the equipment will go to the computer room.
The assembly came on the heels of a sad day May 28 when students arrived at school to find out about third-grader Sandra Ochoa and her family, who all died in a car accident May 26 in Eastern Washington.
“We needed something good to happen for the kids,” Shepler said.
The students and some of the teachers were completely surprised by the donation.
“You could hear the air being sucked out of the room by the gasps of the kids and the teachers when they saw the computers,” Shepler said. “Even now, I will see students in the grocery store and they come running up to say thank you for thinking of them.”
The list of donors is too long to mention everyone, Shepler said. However, big donations came from the Stillaguamish Tribe, Windermere real estate, Washington Federal, Roy Carlson trucking, Stanwood Storage, several anonymous donors, a foundation and several local attorneys.
“This will be a huge stepping stone for many of the students at Twin City Elementary,” Shepler said.
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.