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NetDay Press Releases

August 29, 2000

NetDay's Digital Divide Project is heralded by Secretary of Education Riley on his Success Express Bus Tour

NetDay/ThinkQuest Partnership Announced

Rosedale, MS -- Today, Secretary Riley applauded the achievements of NetDay's Digital Divide Initiative in the West Bolivar School District. The project, started with seed money from the Department of Education in 1999, provides underserved communities with support and resources to receive the technical connections, support and resources needed to fully participate in the "Information Age." At the project's one-year anniversary, Secretary of Education, Richard Riley is visiting the West Bolivar schools to commend their achievements and to underscore the importance of building successful public-private partnerships.

During this visit, NetDay announced its new partnership with ThinkQuest®, a non-profit Internet-based educational initiative. This new partnership will give students and teachers at West Bolivar schools the opportunity to participate in this year's ThinkQuest Internet Challenge, a contest where students ages 12 through 19 use the Internet to create high quality, information-rich Web-based educational tools and materials as they compete for $1,000,000 in scholarships to further their education. NetDay's West-Bolivar based project director, assisted by VISTA and AmeriCorps volunteers, will spearhead a training initiative developed by ThinkQuest to prepare the teachers and students for the competition.

"Our partnership with ThinkQuest is about thinking beyond Internet connections -- it's about utilizing technology to enhance education and creating new opportunities for students. The ThinkQuest Internet Challenge is a wonderful avenue for demonstrating the power of technology and the creativity of students to reach for higher goals, " said Julie Evans, Chief Executive Officer of NetDay.

"We are delighted to be partnering with NetDay in their efforts to close the Digital Divide gap," said Dr. Terry Rogers, president and CEO of Advanced Network & Services, the non-profit corporation that founded ThinkQuest. "ThinkQuest is devoted to challenging and supporting students from every walk of life to use the Internet for educational purposes."

The NetDay Digital Divide project in the Mississippi Delta began in August 1999. The first step of the project was to help secure wiring resources to connect all three schools in the district to the Internet. NetDay partnered with 3M and Marconi/Fore Communications to obtain the necessary wire and wiring components. Today, students in the West Bolivar schools now have the connections to do research at libraries and museums far from the Mississippi Delta and exchange email correspondence with students in other parts of the country.

Next steps of the Initiative will focus on teacher professional development, Internet projects for students and ongoing support for technology-curriculum integration. NetDay is partnering with ThinkQuest, AOL@School, TECH CORPS, and The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning to bring these services to West Bolivar schools and to other schools participating in the NetDay Digital Divide Initiative.

About NetDay:
NetDay ( is a non-profit organization working to improve the quality of education for all students through the effective applications of technology. Founded in 1996, NetDay has led the charge to bring technology into all schools through volunteer driven wiring events. In 2000, NetDay is concentrating on fostering meaningful connections between the worlds of education and technology.

About ThinkQuest:
Created and sponsored by Advanced Network & Services, a non-profit corporation working at the intersection of Internet research and education, ThinkQuest is one of the fastest-growing and largest Internet-based educational initiatives in the world. There are two ThinkQuest challenges: ThinkQuest Junior for girls and boys in grade fourth through sixth, and the flagship ThinkQuest Internet Challenge, for students aged 12-19. Each ThinkQuest program encourages participants to create high quality, content rich, educational Web sites that are made available to millions around the world via the ThinkQuest Library. For more information, visit the ThinkQuest Web site at