Winners of Chromebook computers in this year’s Natomas Schools Foundation’s “NextGen Computer Grant Program” for committed students who need a laptop to enhance or maintain their academic success include:

  • Priyanka, a 5th-grader who takes extra Math and English lessons in her spare time to prepare for high school and college. Her goal is to become a medical doctor and find a cure for genetic disease that a very close friend – “he is not my real brother, but he treats me like a sister” – suffers from.
  • Charlesa, a top-notch 15-year-old student who has been very involved in her school’s Broadcast Media class, culinary club and cheerleading team. In her spare time, she volunteers for an organization that promotes a tobacco-free lifestyle. Charlesa’s goal is to “help my mom in any way possible” and “give her all that she deserves.”
  • Kush, 15, who tutors young children in Math and Scratch, which is a free visual programming language developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also enjoys programming iPhone apps. “Ever since I was 8 years old, I knew I was destined to be a programmer,” he wrote.
  • Yesenia, a 17-year-old high school senior, has a grade point average above 4.0 and plans to be the first in her family to attend college. Her goal is to become a social worker. “One day, I want to be able to have my siblings look up to me and say, ‘Wow, if my sister became successful, then so can I,’” she wrote.

Fifteen winners were selected for Chromebooks by the Natomas Schools Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises money to supplement art, athletic and academic programs for students living within Natomas Unified boundaries.

Two NSF officials, Anna Vue and Monty Maxwell, surprised many of the winners May 16 at their schools, handing out Chromebooks on the spot. Honorees attend six local schools: Natomas High, Inderkum High, Heron, Two Rivers, Westlake Charter, and H. Allen Hight.

NSF’s “NextGen” competition was open to students who attend school within NUSD boundaries, are in the 5th grade or higher, and have a minimum 2.0 grade point average.

Applicants were judged on academic performance and potential, service to others, leadership potential, and on their need of a computer for school-related work. NSF’s goal is to help close the digital divide and assist promising students in achieving their academic and career dreams.

Jason, 15, said his new Chromebook will come in handy for schoolwork, homework, and Internet research.

Kush, a high school freshman, said he has been hoping for many weeks to win the Chromebook and can put it to good use in the tutoring he does with kids.

Mia, a 5th-grader, smiled when asked if she owns a Chromebook.

“Yes – now,” she said, cradling her prize. “Because I have this.”

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