Technological challenges are no longer hurdles for local leaders of Waxahachie classrooms.
The Waxahachie High School Geeks program is having a positive impact on students and teachers alike, said Megan Mills, the school librarian.
WHS Geeks, which started last fall, gives students who are knowledgable about computers the opportunity to act as an Information Technology team for the school. The six current students in the program take jobs for, and sometimes work with, the appointed Waxahachie Independent School District Technology Team technician, and they work to do everything from setting up printers to dealing with viruses, said Mills, the Geeks’ faculty advisor. Now, the group is hoping to expand in size for next year.
The concept of involving students with the workings of the school was an idea Mills encountered at various academic conferences she attended last year, she said. She added the students already helped with technological issues throughout the school, and that the school’s technology department played a key role in having the program approved and putting it in motion to make the students’ work official.
"Each one is unique in what their expertise is," said Mills.
Based in her former office in the school library, the students work with both hardware and software and respond to requests from teachers for technical assistance during their free periods, said Mills.
In addition to solving problems, the students also have the opportunity to share their knowledge with the teachers, said Levi Bulls, a senior who has been involved with the program since its beginnings.
“It feels good to teach people, it confirms that I have the knowledge and ability to do it myself, too,” said Bulls. "We spread our knowledge to the teachers, so they know what to do next time.”
The Geeks’ work has also been beneficial for the teachers of the school, said Marilyn Lynch, who teaches algebra 2 and precalculus, and has had several of the students involved in the program in her classes. Lynch added the Geeks have enthusiastically helped her with problems including dim lights in a classroom and a malfunctioning projector camera. She was particularly impressed when, after discovering which part of the camera needed to be replaced, several of the Geeks went back to her classroom a week later to replace it personally.
“If our computers don’t work and we know why and we know that someone’s looked at it, it calms us down,” said Lynch. “It just helps to know why, and mostly that someone’s listened.”
The program is providing opportunities for the teachers to form closer relationships with the students, said Lynch.
"I guess the best thing is we get to see them not just being a student, but almost in a professional manner,” said Lynch. “It makes them more proud of their school if they can help.”
The school is in the process of creating an application process for students who would like to be involved with WHS Geeks next year, said Mills. She added that requirements for applying students will include satisfying grades and attendance record and no past discipline problems.
Everyone involved has benefitted from the WHS Geeks, said Mills, who is already working on plans to improve the program next semester. She said she would like to have a student standing by to respond to requests for help during every period, and that she hopes to be able to give the students academic credit.
“It’s empowering for them,” said Mills. “It’s just been a positive thing all around.”