TEC Team uses skills at Southern Local

Southern Local High School students Curtis Ebert, Nathan Ward and Gary Naylor have assisted district Technology Director Josh Manist for the past school year as interns with the Technology Entrepreneurs Club (TEC) at the school. (Submitted photo)

SALINEVILLE — Tech-savvy students at Southern Local High School are lending their skills to a program that helps them help the district.

Students Curtis Ebert, Nathan Ward and Gary Naylor are interns in the Technology Entrepreneurs Club (TEC) at SLHS and spend their time working with district Technology Director Josh Manist. In return, they obtain credit toward graduation and some impressive additions to their school and job portfolios.

“I get three to four interns a year and they get more life lessons and skills by doing this,” Manist said. “They have built all the Chromebook carts and inventoried and programmed them. They attend regularly for two to four periods a day and have to be academically successful to participate.”

The trio spent about 10 hours on their largest project to date: creating a supercomputer known as “Big Bertha.” Housed in a 24-inch-by-24-inch case, the computer has a water-cooled, 12 CPU Intel and 64 gigabytes of RAM. It also includes solid state hard drives and a Nvidia graphics card and uses a 1,000-watt power supply. To those who are not as knowledgeable in modern technology, Manist said that is an impressive piece of equipment.

“They assembled the components and did overclocking (updating) of factory parts to improve them,” he continued. “It took about 10-20 hours to assemble and load Windows. We build these supercomputers and give them to [Media teacher] Jody Lockhart, who uses them for video rendering and editing.”

Manist said the white case will be painted by art students and bear a “Star Wars” design. Meanwhile, he added that current TEC members select new participants each year and the fruits of their labor can be seen throughout the district.

“The kids tend to gravitate towards it and it’s hands-on. [Seeing their work is] a reward for them,” he said. “We build computers like this all the time and they’ve literally built every computer in the labs and buildings. A lot of students have gone on to technical colleges and have successful careers.”

The students themselves say they have enjoyed being involved.

“It’s an experience and I love it,” said senior Gary Naylor, who ultimately hopes to enter the medical field.

“It’s a great way to get experience before actually getting a job,” added senior Nathan Ward, who is interested in a career with computers.