‘Hive’ buzzes with training

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WINDSOR – Seven adults stared into bright screens in front of them, patiently waiting to learn the basics on how to operate a computer.

Tuesday, November 18 kicked off the first free public computer literacy class in Windsor. The workshop was held inside Hive Academy, a facility that also provides guidance and direction for teenage boys.

“Everybody knows more about computers than I do so I need to learn,” chuckled Charles Angel, an 80-year-old Windsor resident who was among the oldest participants in the class.

Angel won a Dell laptop computer for being the first participant at the computer literacy workshop.

“Now that I won one, I’m going to be more actively involved with learning about computers,” he said.

Angel admits he has a lot to learn.

“My wife is much more efficient than I am. I know nothing about computers. I barely know how to turn it off or on,” said Angel.

Angel and his wife Bertha comprised two of the seven adults that took part in the workshop.

Although the first class consisted of all Bertie County residents, organizers say the program is open to all North Carolina citizens.

Bertie County Schools, Bertie County Government, Perdue Farms Company, and One Economy Corporation provided funding for the computer program. Organizers hope the program will train residents on how to use the internet and eventually lead to bringing wireless broadband service into public places and inside the homes of Bertie County residents.

“We want broadband to be affordable and assessable for all homes around the world,” said Sonja Murray, Senior Vice President of One Economy Corporation.

One Economy is a global non profit organization founded eight years ago with a goal to bring broadband into more rural communities like Bertie County.

“Right now we’re working with Bertie County to create more open public internet hot spots,” said Murray.

The Hive in Windsor is the second free public computer training center in Bertie County. The first center opened in Lewiston.

“A couple of years ago, residents weren’t as aware. Now at least 500 Bertie County residents have been trained.” explained Murray.

Nearly 20,000 residents live in Bertie County. According to One Economy, Bertie County has the largest land mass than most counties in North Carolina.

Organizers hope to get enough funding to eventually bring wireless broadband across Bertie County.

“You’ve got to have a demand from the community. In a rural community, in order for it to really make sense to financially invest in broadband, everybody has to be excited about it and until that time, we are trying spark the community’s interest,” explained Murray.

“We’re all about empowering people based on information. A lot of the information is now on the Internet. They (Bertie County residents) just need to know how to find it,” said Murray.

Back inside the Hive, Charles Angel eagerly asks questions to his computer literacy instructor.

“This is my third class,” explained Angel. “I took my first computer class in the 1980s, my second in 1995 and after today with this new computer I’m well on my way.”

For free computer training, visit the Windsor Hive located at 117 County Farm Road off of the 13/17 Bypass in Windsor. For more information, call 252-794-5640.