St. Joseph Regional Academy students will have state-of-the-art computers to learn on this school year.

Recently, the school, located in Jim Thorpe, purchased 28 new Dell computers, 20 of which will be used in the school's computer lab; and one for each classroom. Funding for the computers is being raised as a joint effort between the school and Msgr. John Chizmar, pastor of St. Peter the Fisherman; the Rev. James Ward, pastor of Immaculate Conception; and the Rev. Francis Baransky, pastor of St. Joseph's Church.

Ann Marie Oblas, technology teacher at the school, explained that the computers have Windows 7 professional operating systems and are equipped with Microsoft Office 2010.

The reason for the upgrade was because the current computers in the lab were outdated and hard to maintain.

"We were in the situation where software wasn't working," Oblas said. "We needed to improve the technology program."

Because of this, Oblas worked with E.J. Zipp Computer in Lehighton to obtain a quote for the new computers. She then presented it to the school's principal Melissa Novatnack, who presented it to the board and the three priests of the feeder parishes.

Oblas said that the priests began a fundraiser, asking parishioners to donate to the cause to cover the costs of the new computers.

"Now, every child will have a brand new computer to work with at school," she said.

Oblas explained that during her technology classes, she teaches kindergarten through third grade students about hand/eye coordination, how to use the mouse and uses animated keyboarding software to teach basic typing skills.

In fourth grade, students learn about Microsoft Office and how to format documents. Fifth through eighth graders prepare for high school and college by learning to master typing; making graphs, spreadsheets and slideshow presentations; and more.

"This enables everyone to be on an even keel when learning," Oblas said, adding that the school follows the Diocese of Allentown technology curriculum to prepare the students for the future. "I think it's a great step forward because it adds to the education here."

Fundraising efforts for the computers are still ongoing with the hopes of raising enough money to purchase other needed programs to use as teaching tools.

If you would like to donate, Novatnack said you can contact the school at (570) 325-3186.