At a time when teachers can’t procure enough pens and paper for their students, Hyde Park Middle School English instructor Lauren Beattie has taken the initiative to personally stock her entire classroom with computers. Luckily, she has equally passionate—and well-connected—friends volunteering their help.
On November 12, Artifice will host the four-hour Crisco Disco dance party and give a portion of bar proceeds to Beattie, who will also collect $5 donations at the door. In turn, she’ll buy as many $100-$125 Google Chromebooks as she can to complement the 31 she and science teacher Robin Hill already purchased for their classrooms—and, by extension, their 200 students.
“When she mentioned via Facebook that she was going to work at night as an Uber driver to earn enough money for her students to have laptops, I wanted to do something to prevent her from taking on a second job just to cover a gap left by the school district she works for,” says playwright Ernest Hemmings, who enlisted friends in the nightlife scene to provide a venue, DJ talent and lighting/sound for the benefit.
Beattie stresses her laptop campaign is not about shaming her school or pressuring fellow teachers, and that it’s independent of Clark County School District, which cannot purchase Chromebooks to replace Hyde’s existing computers—ones unable to accommodate the cloud-based Google Classroom platform recently gifted to the school by the tech giant. Hyde is a STEAM school that can claim a majority of last year’s CCSD National Merit finalists. And Beattie doesn’t believe the Valley’s best students should have to awkwardly pass a laptop back and forth. “They are the smartest, most creative, kind, cooperative people I’ve met. When you’re surrounded by such people, you have to step up—because they’ve stepped up. They’re always trying to solve problems. And this is one problem I can solve.”
Crisco Disco November 12, 8 p.m., $5 donation. Artifice, 702-489-6339.