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Program helps older ‘students’ catch up on current technology

Shirley Edwards helps participants Tuesday at one of the Dallas County Schools’ free computer classes held at Dallas County Resource Learning Center. -- Sarah Robinson

Shirley Edwards helps participants Tuesday at one of the Dallas County Schools’ free computer classes held at Dallas County Resource Learning Center. — Sarah Robinson

Dallas County School students will not be the only ones to benefit from the system’s teachings this school year.

Every Tuesday from September until the second Tuesday in May, the system is offering free computer classes to parents and guardians in the county school district through its Parent Involvement Program. Held at two locations, the classes teach participants how to explore the Internet, type properly, operate Microsoft Office 2010, design brochures and much more.

“In today’s society, everything is going to computers and technology, so we want them to be familiar with it,” Parent Facilitator Shirley Edwards said. “If they know basic computer skills, it will help them in the long run.”

Funded by Title 1, classes meet from 10 a.m. to noon at the Dallas County Resource Learning Center on 5570 Water Ave. in Selma and from 3 to 5 p.m. at Keith High School on 1166 County Road 115 in Orrville.

Benjamin Irvin, the grandfather of two students in the school system, said his fascination with a computer’s capabilities drove him to take his first class Tuesday at the Dallas County Learning Center.

Irvin said he was especially interested in learning different ways to communicate with family members residing in distant states.

“I want to be able to type an email to them,” he said. “I’m trying to find an easier way to contact them and leave a message, instead of just burning up my phone.”

Doris Sprague has been participating in the computer classes for eight years in hopes of acquiring skills that will help her with her long-time volunteer work at the Tipton Durant Middle School.

Sprague said her experience has also brought her the great, unexpected gift of friendship.

“I’ve met other people here that I’ve become friends with,” Sprague said. “It’s a very good class.”

Parent Facilitator Dorothy Irvin, who serves as a class instructor, advises adults interested in the class to not let age discourage them from joining.

“It is important that we connect ourselves and learn new things,” Dorothy said. “No matter what age, you should never want to stop learning.”