The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 25, 2013

Rep. Tolson puts key pieces together to benefit North Carolina Wesleyan College


ROCKY MOUNT — ROCKY MOUNT — State Rep. Joe Tolson’s (D-Edgecombe) ability to put key pieces of a financial puzzle together will benefit students at North Carolina Wesleyan College (NCWC) for years to come.

When Tolson learned the school was facing financial issues in funding a much-needed computer networking lab, he called Brooks Raiford, who heads up the North Carolina Technology Association.

“I just made a phone call,” a modest Tolson said Thursday after the dedication of the lab, which now houses 40 computer stations in Room 237 of the Braswell  Building. Each station includes a CPU with Windows 7 and MS Office 07 Home & Student, and a flat panel monitor. Twenty stations will be utilized with the other 20 held in reserve.

“I called Brooks Raiford and told him the situation,” Tolson said. “I asked him if he knew of anyone who might be able and willing to help and he said he did.”

Tolson noted it was Raiford and Michael Abensour of the Kramden Institute and Cecil Wright of the United Way of the Greater Triangle(UWGT)  that deserved the credit for making the lab possible.

Kramden's mission is to place computers in the homes of hard-working, deserving students utilizing tax-deductible donations while the UWGT program, Teaming for Technology, refurbished the desktops to extend their service life to benefit the students in the lab.

Raiford said working with UWGT helped the college and its students, helped those who refurbish the computers and extends their life another five years or so.

Tolson said the effort came together  “because the students said they needed a networking  lab. I’m very pleased we were able to help facilitate it.”

College President James Gray said the lab was extremely important to the school and is delivery of services to both traditional and non-traditional students.

“It’s great for something like this to be happening at a small school,” Gray said.  ‘If a Duke or UNC wanted  do something like this, they would just write a check. We have to beg and borrow and do without.”

The new lab will first be used by non-traditional students in the evening class program and will be available to traditional students for the firs time in August.