January 11, 1999
George Goley and Melissa Dunn-Goley try out one of 45 new personal computers the Woodinville couple's donations helped bring to Timbercrest Junior High.
Staff photo by Andrew Walgamott.
by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
WOODINVILLE--School officials were beaming as brightly as the glow from the 36 personal computers at Timbercrest Junior High's newly created PC lab during an open house last Wednesday.
"Schools don't have this kind of money," said lab administrator and 8th and 9th grade language arts instructor Barb Gilbert. "We couldn't have done this."
The unexpected windfall is the result of donations from a pair of Timbercrest parents, as well as volunteers' time, and is only the fourth PC lab in the Northshore School District. Wired over the Christmas break, the lab has already been used to churn out a newsletter, and other dreams are pinned on the computers and learning opportunities there.
"This is truly state of the art," said Gilbert.
Creation of the lab was sparked by George Goley and his soon-to-be wife Melissa Dunn-Goley, a Cottage Lake-area couple who wanted to give more than just calculators and software. Instead, Goley and Dunn-Goley asked school officials earlier in the school year, "What if we donated a PC lab?"
Goley recalls that administrators were silent for about two minutes.
"That type of donation doesn't happen," said Gilbert. "We were floored."
Goley, a computer consultant, and Dunn-Goley, a Microsoft employee, together donated $80,000, while Microsoft provided another $10,000 and software and licenses worth $92,000. A hurdle arose about halfway through the process.
"We realized we needed something to put [the computers] on," said Goley.
The school found carpenter/contractor and parent Don Azeltine who, after Home Depot of Bothell donated materials, constructed the long tables where the four rows of monitors, desk-top towers (CPUs), and keyboards sit.
The lab was designed by Gilbert and technology teacher Doug Pumputis with computer-assisted drafting equipment. All totaled, there are 45 new PCs and a server. Eight computers are in a science lab.
For those students with wired homes, the computers and district Internet connection may be the end of the old "dog ate my homework" gambit. Principal Larry Little, speaking to a parent last week, said he saw opportunities for students to work in the lab, e-mail it home, work on it there, and then e-mail it back to the school, thereby ending any chance for the family pooch to snack on math or science assignments.
Also, Little said parents could watch an Internet video feed of their children giving a presentation at school from home.
Gilbert says with an Apple Macintosh lab and now a PC lab, Timbercrest students will also be educated across different computer platforms. All Northshore schools are computer-equipped with units in either classrooms or labs.
Originally, Goley and Dunn-Goley were going to give anonymously, but changed their minds. "I wanted people to know it's not hard to do. And if you target your donation, it's fun," said Goley. He got involved in writing requests for proposals for computer equipment.
"Sometimes it takes one person to go first, and others will hop along," said Goley.
"It's like George said, 'Practice random acts of kindness,'" said Dunn-Goley, who, nonetheless, felt a little embarrassment at the size of her gift.
Still, the couple's gift inspired Azeltine to become involved. "Someone else was donating all these computers and had nowhere to put them. So I thought the least I could do was donate my time," said Azeltine, who worked on the project after his regular job.
With the future wired to the kids of today, Dunn-Goley hopes others will realize that public schools need these types of gifts.
Dr. Pamela Steele, Northshore's communications coordinator, said that while the district does its best for education with the funding it can project, donations are truly gifts.
"It's easy to assume that Northshore doesn't need donations because we always pass our levy/bonds elections and we enjoy the support of a community that values education," Steele said. "The fact is all donations--of money, time, or in-kind services--are encouraged and welcome. There's always more to do than we have the funds to accomplish."
Dunn-Goley reports that "we have a history of this." For a Woodin Elementary math night, rather than flash cards for prizes, they bought computers and scanners.
Both have 8th grade daughters at Timbercrest, Northshore's sixth junior high. "I'm sure the high school (Woodinville) is saying they can't wait until they get there," Dunn-Goley said with a laugh.