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Celtics, SNHU help create a level playing field for Nashua’s inner-city students | Education

NASHUA — Local students had the ultimate surprise Thursday. They hung out with the Boston Celtics while enjoying new technology donated to their inner-city school.

A new technology lab, courtesy of the Celtics and Southern New Hampshire University, was unveiled at Fairgrounds Elementary School. New Chromebook laptops, Apple iPads, 3D pens, 3D printers, Bloxels, green screen equipment and Code-a-Pillars were included in the lab — the 12th tech lab the Celtics and SNHU have partnered together to open in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to help increase access to technology for students.

“We have an obligation to help level the playing field for all kids, and we are in a position to do just that,” said Dave Hoffman, vice president of community engagement for the Celtics. “The wave of the future is technology and innovation.”

Students also had the chance to meet Celtics player Aron Baynes and former Celtics player Leon Powe. Not only did the students play games with the athletes, they created short video clips with the basketball players using their new technology.

“This technology will enhance their opportunities. We have already made a lot of improvements in reading and math, and now we can use this lab to be even more successful and interactive,” said Michael Harrington, principal at Fairgrounds Elementary School. The lab is equipped with 25 Chromebook laptops — a necessity for the school and its students, according to Harrington, who said the children decided which equipment they would most like to see in the tech lab.

“This has been so exciting for them,” he added.

Angie Foss, associate dean of operations and innovations at SNHU, said it is overwhelming to watch the kids’ eyes light up when they see all of the modern technology and have the opportunity to test it out.

“Our future students are so important to us,” said Foss. “We believe in bringing opportunities and access to students no matter what their background is. This project resonates with our mission at SNHU.”

Hoffman echoed that sentiment, saying Nashua students deserve to have technology that will help them progress into the future. He said the Celtics receive so much support from communities throughout the region, and this is a way to show their appreciation.

The Celtics players also shared with students a little bit about their experience with the NBA.

“I’m always thankful and so excited to step out on the court,” said Baynes, adding he still gets goosebumps when the crowd is roaring and fans are cheering on the team.

Students were most interested in Baynes’ recent hand surgery. Last month, Baynes suffered a metacarpal fracture while playing against the Phoenix Suns. He had surgery and will miss some time on the court. On Thursday, Baynes showed the kids — mostly fourth and fifth graders — the two scars on his left hand from the surgery. Baynes reassured the group that he is now ready to go, saying he no longer has any pain from the injury.

NashuaNews@unionleader.com

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