NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We are pretty used to hearing about the different sports teams at North Little Rock High winning championships, but it’s the superstars of the school's EAST program who just pulled in the latest big prize.

They may be 2,000 miles from Silicon Valley, but the students in North Little Rock put together a video “elevator pitch” and convinced people with tech firms Intel and PCM to win a $30,000 makeover.

“The students just did the entire application, the entire process, interview questions, everything,” said Stan Whisnant, the “facilitator” for the EAST Initiative. 

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“I just gave them the information and said 'here.' On December 27, I got an email that I almost deleted because I didn't recognize the person, and I looked at it and it said ‘you won.’”

Since then, officials with the companies and packages of kits and raw materials have arrived. There are about a half dozen supercharged computer towers that were all built by students in the program. 

There’s a big 75-inch monitor, which will allow the high school class to link in real time with the middle school. 

The kids can work with virtual reality, and they will run their own projects, like making interactive mobile apps for getting around campus. They couldn't do all these things before they beat out 3,000 other applicants for the makeover.

“It needs the oomph to do it, and we now have the tools,” said Whisnant.

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“It's just always something really exciting because you have the sky as the limit. You can do whatever you want,” said Shulamith Jaquez, who will follow two older brothers into the program. 

She plans to use the new tools to tackle a school-wide recycling system. That opportunity comes next school year, while looking to even bigger things in the future.

“It gives them the advantage of having hands-on and knowing how it works,” Whisnant said. “They go into the workforce where they have...the sky opens up for them.”

Below you can find the official press release regarding the EAST initiative.

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK HIGH SCHOOL AWARDED $30,000 CLASSROOM MAKEOVER PRIZE FROM NATIONAL IT SOLUTIONS COMPANY, PCM AND INTEL CORPORATION

North Little Rock High School’s EAST Initiative Program awarded prize after entering and winning PCM’s “What Can New Do” Office Makeover Contest.

PCM Intel Business Development ManagerTony Zaragoza, was onsite with a camera crew filming the updated North Little Rock High School classroom after the installation of $30,000 of new computer equipment. This was the result of the high school’s entry into a contest co-sponsored by PCM and Intel Corporation. The North Little Rock High School class submitted a description of “What New” computer equipment would do to help improve their classroom learning experience. The $30,000 award was one of three $30,000 awards to three winners across the country. Stanley Whisnant, EAST Initiative Facilitator, at North Little Rock High School was beaming with pride over the new equipment that his students now have to enhance their learning experience. “I wanted the kids to build these computers, not just buy a pre-built PC. These kids learned to build the PCs and gained a lot of pride from there accomplishment. Now we have the performance to run our CAD, Photoshop, and illustrators programs” Stanley Whisnant, Little Rock High School EAST Facilitator. Also at the event were James Hopper Director of Development and Apryl Jackson, Communication Coordinator, both from the EAST Initiative organization www.eastinitiative.org.

“North Little Rock High School and their EAST Initiative program are a perfect example of what we were hoping to accomplish with our “Makeover” contest. With budget constraints, it is always a challenge for schools to stay up to date on the latest technology. PCM and Intel are both happy to see the positive impact that the new state of the art technology will have on the students learning experience.” Tony Zaragoza, PCM Intel Business Development Manager.

The new equipment included: Five Intel Core i9 processor based PCs with Intel Optane memory (Students assembled the PCs). One HP Spout Computer system. One HP Elitebook notebook. One 75 inch Viewsonic Interactive Touch Display with Intel Unite Collaboration software. One 65 inch Viewsonic Interative Touch Display with Intel Unite Collaboration software. Two Logitec Meet Up camera conferencing systems. One 3D printer.

“I am very excited about the large Viewsonic Touch Screen displays with Intel Unite software and Logitec Meetup camera systems. This will enable our high school students to coach and mentor the middle school students across town. It is just amazing to have the technology to enable my students to do this!” Stanley Whisnant, Little Rock High School EAST Facilitator.

North Little Rock High School is based at the following address:

201 W 22nd St.

North Little Rock, AR 72114