Altice USA, Kramden Institute Provide VISIONS Students Laptops

Optimum staff set up tables in PCC's Goess Student Center during a VISIONS orientation session to distribute laptops to the program's newest participants.

WINTERVILLE—High school students participating in Pitt Community College’s VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program now have their very own laptops, thanks to a partnership between Altice USA and Durham’s Kramden Institute.

This is the fourth straight year Optimum, a subsidiary of Altice USA, has teamed with Kramden Institute to provide computers to the VISIONS program, which was established in 2004 to help reduce Pitt County’s high school dropout rate. The laptops were recently distributed to the program’s newest participants to increase their chances of academic success.

“Optimum is thrilled to continue its partnership with Kramden Institute and Pitt Community College to provide students with the tools they need to complete their final year of high school and post-secondary education,” said Lisa Stokes, Market Engagement Manager at Optimum. “It is important for all students to have access to technology and high-speed internet, and this donation further underscores Optimum’s commitment to making a positive impact on the communities it serves.”

PCC VISIONS Director Rebecca Warren says she is grateful Altice USA and Kramden Institute “see the potential in VISIONS students” and are helping them enjoy the benefits of a more equitable learning experience.

“The partnership with Altice USA and Kramden Institute has allowed many of our VISIONS students to experience a freedom they’ve never known before,” Warren said. “It’s given them the ability to have their own laptop at home for schoolwork and participate in virtual seminars with our program, instead of having to find a public computer.”

PCC High School VISIONS Coordinator Jim Shallow said many VISIONS students don’t have the means of purchasing laptops and were using equipment borrowed from their high schools, which must be returned at the end of the school year. He said the 50 laptops distributed to VISIONS students this semester are theirs to keep.

“As part of the VISIONS selection process, we interview students and many of them said they didn’t personally own computers,” Shallow said. “They were so thankful to receive laptops and felt they would go a long way toward helping them with their studies. The parents in attendance were very appreciative as well.”

Shallow says VISIONS students can use their new laptops to access the web through affordable, high-speed internet packages that Altice USA has offered them. He said it allows them to research and complete class assignments and improves the communication process with VISIONS staff, in general.

“Because the laptops are theirs and they don’t have to return them, they can bring them to PCC after high school graduation,” Shallow said. “That gives them the ability to continue communicating with VISIONS college personnel and opens the door for them to participate in online and hybrid courses and other types of distance education Pitt offers.”

Like Warren, Shallow says he is grateful for the partnership between Altice USA and Kramden Institute.

“It’s nice to know there are businesses and organizations today that are so willing to support education,” he said. “It’s awesome and says a lot about Altice USA and Kramden Institute for them to provide students with a tool that can help them progress academically for many years to come.”

VISIONS, the product of a partnership between the PCC Foundation, Pitt County Schools and the Eddie & Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation, has helped more than 1,300 local students complete high school and move into higher education and/or the local workforce.