CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Wacker Polysilicon donated 40 laptop computers Tuesday to elementary school students in Bradley County Schools.
Ingomar Kovar, president and chief executive officer of Wacker Chemical Corp., made the presentation to schools Director Johnny McDaniel, school board members Troy Weathers and Christy Critchfield and others.
"We were saddened by the news of these [April 27] storms and the devastation they caused here in Bradley County, especially the impact they had on our schools," Kovar said at the county school system central office. "What those tornadoes could not destroy is the spirit of the families, friends and neighbors."
The computers will be used at Black Fox and Waterville Community elementary schools, where children from the destroyed Blue Springs Elementary School will attend classes this year.
"With the coming new school year, these students will be assured they have the right equipment to advance their knowledge and further develop their necessary skills to successfully compete at the next level," Kovar said.
McDaniel said school personnel are grateful for the assistance.
"It's exciting to know Wacker will be a strong partner with Bradley County Schools," he said.
Kovar also told those assembled the status of construction on Wacker's $1.5 billion Cleveland plant, which is expected eventually to bring 700 jobs to the area.
"We will pour the first concrete in the next weeks and start the construction," he said. "We are very excited about the people we have found here. They are quite skilled."
The presentation was an emotional moment for Sheena Newman, supervisor for elementary grades in the county. She was a student teacher at Blue Springs, has taught for a decade and served as Blue Springs' principal for three years.
"It holds very dear memories for me," she said.
When she saw the demolished building, she stood and wept, Newman said.
"What appeared to be a bad thing at the time will turn out to be a good thing for our community," she said. "I watched our community pull together. And I believe our students at Blue Springs will have opportunities they have never had before."