Matthew Leeds is an alumnus of The Craig School, who attended from 2nd – 8th grade (2006-2013). Starting last year, Matthew returned to work as a Technology Analyst for the school’s administration, over the summers. He is currently a senior at Golda Och Academy, formerly Solomon Schechter, in West Orange.
TJ: What inspired you to think about this gift?
ML: For the last two years, I have spent my summers working for the IT Department at Craig. My job has been to review the entire inventory of machines at both campuses and improve them for the new school year. I saw that some of our computers, specifically our laptops, needed to be upgraded.
TJ: So what did you do?
ML: I thought about how I could make a difference and improve the situation. I knew of an organization that might be willing to donate laptop computers for the school, however, the computers would be missing certain parts. Waiting to find out whether I could get them was nerve-racking. In addition, I was eager to use my skills and interest to improve the computers to make them the best they could be for the school that I care so much about – Craig!
TJ: How did you accomplish what you were intent on doing?
ML: Once I was able to acquire the 10 machines for Craig, I built each machine to exceed the standards required by the Lower/Middle School students and faculty. I preloaded them with all of the programs and assistive software packages that are used in the classroom each and every day.
TJ: What did you do next?
ML: I wanted this to be a surprise. In passing, I asked Mrs. Cozine for a meeting with her. She was unaware of why we were going to meet. I planned on bringing my parents along so that we could all present this donation to the school. When a time was set, I had all the computers and their accessories packed up and ready for use immediately.
TJ: What happened on the day of the meeting?
ML: My family and I presented the 10 “speedy” and fully loaded machines to Mrs. Cozine. I told Mrs. Cozine that I wanted to make sure these computers were equipped with all the tools her teachers would need, so that the students could immediately benefit.
TJ: I am so pleased and excited about your gift to Craig. Our focus is on our teachers and students, and in this technological world we need to constantly keep up and thinking ahead. We do a good job, but with our focus on having the best teachers possible, paying them at the best rate we can, technology decisions at times need to take a back seat. Your gift has helped us stay current.
ML: I am so proud that I was able to do this for the school that gave me so much over the seven years that I attended. The Craig School is a remarkable institution with teachers that truly change the lives of the students that come here. It brings me great happiness to know that I was able to help in this way.
TJ: Matthew, thank you again and your family’s gift will undoubtedly inspire others as we continue to provide the best for the students at Craig.