Weekly Feature



2017-06-22 / Business

Key Bank partners with nonprofit to donate computers to LMS

by IZZY GRAZIANO Intern


Students received computers donated by Key Bank, through local nonprofit Computers for Children, as a part of Lancaster’s School Board meeting on Monday night. From left are Lawrence Wareham, engineering mentor; students Nathaniel Wareham, Collin Thompson, Morgan Melbourne and Harbir Singh; Peter Kruszynski, Lancaster Middle School principal; and Michael Gembar, LMS technology teacher and Science Olympiad coach. 
Photo by Izzy Graziano Students received computers donated by Key Bank, through local nonprofit Computers for Children, as a part of Lancaster’s School Board meeting on Monday night. From left are Lawrence Wareham, engineering mentor; students Nathaniel Wareham, Collin Thompson, Morgan Melbourne and Harbir Singh; Peter Kruszynski, Lancaster Middle School principal; and Michael Gembar, LMS technology teacher and Science Olympiad coach. Photo by Izzy Graziano KeyBank partnered with Computers for Children — a local nonprofit — in donating computers to Lancaster Middle School students at the Central Avenue School Building on Monday.

As part of a larger philanthropic initiative, KeyBank has donated laptops, desktop computers and office equipment to more than 40 organizations throughout Erie and Niagara counties this year. At the dedication event in Lancaster, KeyBank Western New York corporate communications manager Matthew Pitts served as an envoy for the company.

To earn the computer donations, the Lancaster Middle School students participated in a competition — sponsored by Western New York STEM and Computers for Children — that entailed building a Rube Goldberg machine. Among the seven competing middle schools, Lancaster ranked third.

STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math.

Leading the team in its inaugural year, Lancaster Middle School technology teacher and Science Olympiad coach Michael Gembar joined forces with engineering mentor and senior electrical controls engineer Lawrence Wareham of Edwards Vacuum in Sanborn, New York.

“I think this really goes to show how supportive Lancaster is with technology and engineering,” Gembar said. “It was nice to see the whole community get involved.”

Before the competition, the students and their coaches spent between three and four weeks intensely preparing, according to Wareham. Eighth-graders Harbir Singh and Morgan Melbourne and seventh-graders Nathaniel Wareham and Collin Thompson represented Lancaster Middle School in the competition.

“This kind of program blends school with corporate mentors,” Computers for Children CEO Christine Carr said, referring to the initiative’s significance. “The skills learned in the classroom can be taken to a whole new level.”

From completing such a challenge, students increase their capacity for teamwork and creative problem-solving, according to Carr.

The computer donation ceremony highlighted not only KeyBank’s philanthropy, but also the success of the Lancaster Middle School community members.

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