When the new school year begins later this month, some students will attend classes in a converted big-box store, but they'll have new Apple notebooks to aid their studies.
Joplin High School was among the many homes and buildings destroyed by the May 22 tornado that tore through the city, killing 160 people and injuring hundreds of others. The Gulf state's gift to the Joplin school district will help it further integrate computer-assisted learning in its classrooms, said Angie Bessendorfer, an assistant superintendent.
"The students are thrilled. The way we teach and the way students learn is going to be very different," said Bessendorfer, who added that the computer initiative has been a district goal for at least three years.
The gift materialized after United Arab Emirates officials read an Associated Press story in late June about the school system's struggles, said Dana Al Marashi, who heads the heritage and social affairs department at the oil-rich country's embassy in Washington. After Hurricane Katrina, the United Arab Emirates donated $100 million to U.S. relief efforts.
The United Arab Emirates pledged $500,000 toward the district's computer initiative, and up to another $500,000 to match similar donations.
Al Marashi hopes the gift will be start of a long-term relationship with the southwestern Missouri city, with future programs to include cultural exchanges.
"I don't want this to be a one-off investment," she said.
always nice to see stories like these. you are awesome, UAE.