Students Succeed in Get Connected, Get Schooled Challenge

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

By: Ashmar Mandou

An extraordinary moment took place at Malcolm X College on Monday afternoon as thousands of students from various Chicago Public High Schools celebrated their success in the inaugural Get Connected, Get Schooled Challenge.

Excitement was felt throughout the auditorium as students were joined by several public figures including actress and singer-songwriter Christina Milian, MTV’s Sway Calloway, Chicago hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper, Chicago White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams, Chicago Bears safety Ryan Mundy, Chicago Fire forward Harry Shipp, former Chicago Bulls forward Sidney Green and NBC5 morning anchor Zoraida Sambolin. “A great education can transform a young person’s life like almost nothing else,” said Sway, the face of MTV News and VMA coverage.

Get Connected, Get Schooled, a first of its kind, is a national non-profit organization launched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the help of Viacom and Internet Essentials. The purpose of Get Connected, Get Schooled is to connect 22,000 Chicago households and more than 1.4 million people in the U.S. to the Internet. Together, with the help of Get Schooled, Internet Essentials by Comcast, CPS, and Chicago City of Learning (CCOL), a plethora of games, pop culture, localized information, recognition and rewards to motivate 13 to 19 year-old students were delivered to prepare for college during the three month challenge.

“The city is focused on helping students prepare for college, and The Get Schooled, Get Connected Challenge did just that,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

In addition to the games and speeches, Internet Essentials presented a $100,000 check, which was divided among six high schools and six CBOs who earned the most points.
The donation will help recipient schools and CBOs enhance computer labs, increase Internet and Wi-Fi access and support digital literacy training. Over the past year, Comcast and the Comcast Foundation have contributed more than $250,000 in Chicago to this ongoing initiative.

“This citywide effort successfully engaged thousands of students in activities to enhance their technology skills, which are absolutely necessary for college and 21st century jobs.” said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO of the Chicago Public Schools.

The challenge launched back in October when students gained access to educational tools, resources, and games designed to sustain their interest. The games covered topics ranging from digital literacy to preparing for college-entrance exams. During the challenge, students garnered points for each game completed. There were nearly 1,700 students with at least 1,500 points at the end of the challenge on January 11th, and that success earned them a ticket to Monday’s special VIP celebration. In less than 90 days, students completed more than 50,000 quests.

“It’s great to know we’ve helped nearly 100,000 Chicagoans tap the power of the internet for educational content outside of the classroom, job searches and so many other thing that help further their education and lives,” said John Crowley, Comcast Regional Senior Vice President.

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