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Campbellsville Elementary receives tablet donation from Amazon

Big boost for technology: 25 Tablets, $1,250 in content. In addition to Amazon officials, Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers, Campbellsville/Taylor County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Ron McMahan and State Rep. John "Bam" Carney, R-Campbellsville, attended.
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By Calen McKinney

It didn't take long for them to open the boxes, turn the devices on and begin learning.

Campbellsville Elementary School recently received a large donation from Amazon, including 25 Kindle fire tablets and $1,250 in content for the devices.

The tablets will be used in CES kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. On Wednesday, May 11, Amazon and other officials came to CES to present the tablets to the students who will be using them.

CES Principal Ricky Hunt welcomed guests and said he hopes they will enjoy their day at his school.

In addressing the CES kindergarten students, Carlos De La Garza, general manager at Amazon, first introduced himself.

"In the spirit of school, there's going to be a quiz," he said, with a laugh. De La Garza said Amazon has been open in Campbellsville for 15 years and employs more than 1,000 people.

"And we're here to do some fun stuff today," he said. De La Garza asked the CES students how many are excited for summer break, to which all raised their hands. But not all said they would read during the summer.

To help fix that, he said, Amazon wants to issue a challenge to all CES students. If students read at least a cumulative 1,000 hours this summer, De La Garza said he will come back to the school next year and donate 100 new books to the library.

And, De La Garza said, like CES, there is a lot of construction going on at Amazon. When that work is completed, he said, he would like to invite the top reader from each grade level at CES to receive a golden ticket to be the first to tour the new Amazon facility. "So, I hope someone in here wins because I look forward to seeing you again," he said.

After his remarks, De La Garza asked some of the students to take a look inside the large boxes he brought with him. After learning the boxes contained new Kindle fire tablets, students each received one, opened them and began reading and playing games.

Amazon officials, including several workers whose children attend CES, helped students learn to use their new devices.

Hunt said he knows how important technology is, especially in the elementary school setting, so he is very appreciative of the generous donation. David Petett, director of district wide services at Campbellsville Independent Schools, said CES students come to school to learn, and Amazon's donation will help with that.

"And we can't do it alone," he said. The new devices will help get students where they need to be academically. And while using the devices for just a brief time, Petett said, the students have taught him a lot.

Petett said it's great to see how excited the students are, and knowing that this donation will help supplement their education is even more exciting.

"It gives them another tool in their chest to help them reach their potential," he said.

He congratulated Amazon for receiving the Campbellsville/Taylor County Chamber of Commerce investor of the year award.

"And we at Campbellsville Independent Schools know you invest in your kids," Petett said.

Virgil Parker, chief information officer and district technology coordinator, said the donation will allow kindergarteners and first-graders to have their own set of tablets to check out. Older students sometimes get to the District's devices first, meaning kindergarten and first-graders don't always have access to them.

"This is really going to fill a niche for us," Parker said. Hunt said the new tablets will add a very valuable teaching resource to CES classrooms.

"On behalf of all of us, thank you so much," he said.

"This is a great day for Campbellsville Elementary School, and for our community."

This story was posted on 2016-05-16 08:02:39
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Amazon GM Carlos De La Garza, gets answer he wants

2016-05-16 - Campbellsville Elementary School, 315 Roberts Road (campus), Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer, Campbellsville Independent Schools (CIS).
Carlos De La Garza, Amazon general manager, asks how many CES students will read during their summer break. On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, Amazon and other officials came to CES to present the tablets to the students who will be using them. From left, above, are De La Garza, CES Principal Ricky Hunt, Taylor County CJE Eddie Rogers, Rep. John (Bam) Carney, and (waiting for ID - CM) - Calen McKinney

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