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NHS NewTek Program Collecting Technology To Recycle



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Along with its repair business, Newtown High School’s NewTek program has been collecting technology devices to recycle as part of a new effort.

“The best way to recycle things is to repair things,” said teacher Michael Ornaf, as his second and third year NewTek students worked around him on Thursday, May 21. “And once we are through with repairing them, we donate them to a charity I have designated, which is the River Fund New York [Inc]. It’s a great charity that has a food pantry and serves roughly half-a-million people a year.”

NewTek is a student-run enterprise at the high school. Only students that have taken a year of computer repair courses can participate, according to Mr Ornaf. The NewTek services are available to NHS students, staff, and the Newtown community.

Mr Ornaf said the new recycling campaign was inspired by Earth Week.

Since the recycling program began, Chris Manfredi, a second-year NewTek student and a junior at NHS, said a number of devices have been collected. According to both Chris and Mr Ornaf, members of the public can also donate old devices to the recycling effort, while the school year is still ongoing, by leaving them with the school’s main office. Both said the recycling program is expected to begin again at the start of the 2015-16 school year.

Once the donated devices are refurbished, Mr Ornaf said they will be given to the River Fund New York.

So far the donated items have included some laptops, MP3 players, and cellphones. Desktops were also donated, but those will be used to train students, according to Mr Ornaf.

“I don’t think they can use the older technologies,” said Mr Ornaf.

While explaining the NewTek program overall, Mr Ornaf said, “We do a variety of repairs from hardware to software, to getting rid of viruses and upgrades to different operating systems and memory, installing different software. It’s run like an enterprise, like a business.”

Chris works in the mobile group, which fixes portable devices like iPhones and tablets. NewTek also as a laptop group, and, according to Mr Ornaf, desktops are fixed in the class. Students also work on accounting for the program, including giving cost estimates to customers, which Mr Ornaf said is typically the cost of the part in question and a nominal charge for labor.

Mark Zavatsky, a third-year NewTek student and a junior at NHS, also works in the mobile group with Chris. To kick off the recycling program, Mark and Chris made announcements over the loudspeaker system at the school during morning announcements.

Chris said the recycling program received more donations near its inception, but the donated items have slowed down to about one item per week.

“We take everything,” Chris said, when asked what types of devices the NewTek recycling program is looking for in particular. “It can be brand-new. It can be destroyed. We don’t care. We’ll take it all.”

More information about the NewTek program, including information about repairs, is available at its website, nhsnewtek.com, which is also monitored by students.

Newtown High School juniors Chris Manfredi, left, and Mark Zavatsky worked over cellphones donated to the NewTek program’s recycling campaign. The donated devices will be refurbished by students then donated to the River Fund New York Inc.
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