On March 24, 2022, Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School unveiled a new Verizon Innovative Learning Lab, created by Verizon with Heart of America and Arizona State University. The ribbon-cutting ceremony revealed a new state-of-the-art lab featuring emerging technology that will equip students and teachers with access to augmented and virtual reality, coding & circuits, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence. As part of the Verizon Innovative Learning program, students will be introduced to a technology-infused curriculum to enhance the learning experience, allowing them to do more and succeed in today’s digital economy.
Attendees were greeted by the junior honor society, who personally escorted each guest to the lab, the school’s cheerleaders, and Vice Principals. It was evident that the students and staff at Dr. William H. Horton Elementary School had been awaiting this very moment.
“This is intentional,” shared Superintendent León. “It is with purpose and intentionality that the digital divide is being eliminated. The world needs the children from the city of Newark to get it together and the way that we’re doing that is by providing them with essential resources and access.” The Superintendent then went on to thank the school’s partners, highlighting that “We would not be here today, if not for you. The work that you are doing is integral and important, not just to this school but in our city.”
“This all began as a dream,” stated Principal Hamlet Marte. “The lab itself tailors each piece of technology to meet the needs of our students. In this lab, students are allowed to explore their creative selves and there are no language barriers here. I can't wait to see you making it to places that no one has ever been. I can't wait to see your names on monuments.”
Students and educators, as part of the Lab program, are encouraged to explore Verizon Innovative Learning HQ, a recently-launched next-gen online education portal that provides free access to immersive learning experiences, available to all educators nationwide. Through this work, and Citizen Verizon - the company’s responsible business plan - Verizon advances its commitment to providing 10 million youths with digital skills training by 2030.
The continuation of the ceremony featured remarks from partner affiliates such as Alex Servello, Verizon Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Mark Bochieri, Verizon Manager, State Government Affairs, and Vice Principal of the Middle School, Lynette Dortrait. In her speech, she shared “Our kids now have access to state of the art resources and tools that will foster their creative curiosity. Allow them to innovate, create critical thinking and problem solve in a beautiful space.”
The involvement of students throughout the morning festivities allowed all who attended to see how this initiative will be benefiting students directly. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, students gave everyone a tour of their new lab, demonstrating the new gadgets along with all of the knowledge that they’ve acquired since the lab’s development. Mia Maldonado, Horton’s Student Government President said “On behalf of the students we want to say thank you. Thank you for this opportunity that you've given us to expand our horizons. We promise to utilize this daily and to maximize every opportunity.”