Charter Pulse

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NEW JERSEY: Bill Gates chats with Franklin Township students live via Internet

virtual-charter-schoolsComputer science students at a Somerset charter school spoke via live video chat Monday to a true computer and business legend.

Bill Gates, founder and former chairman of Microsoft, paid a live interactive video chat visit Monday afternoon to about 40 students at the Central Jersey College Prep Charter School in the Somerset section of Franklin, as part of Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 9 to 15.

The chat is part of a national Hour of Code event to encourage young students to learn to write computer code.

Central Jersey was one of only eight schools in the country to participate in Monday’s video chat with Gates, with each school designating one student to personally ask Gates a question, according to Lynne Ozgur, grants manager of the charter school.

Central Jersey’s designated questioner, sixth-grader Evyavan Patel, asked Gates for an example of when a kid has given him useful advice that has made a difference in his life.

“It keeps me fresh and thinking about things in a good way,” Gates said, pointing out how his own children comment on things they picked up on the internet and have given him ideas about how they use Microsoft projects.

Gates said he had also learned useful things from summer interns at both Microsoft and his foundation.

“I’m so grateful to participate in this national campaign,” said Tarkan Topcuoglu, lead person, or principal, at the charter school. “They expect about 2 million students to take part nationally.”

Topcuoglu said that Hadi Partovi, CEO of, sponsor of the event, will attend the school Tuesday morning along with Franklin Township Mayor Brian Levine, to present a symbolic $10,000 check to the school representing all new computer equipment to be awarded to the school’s computer lab.

“I think it’s an awesome event,” said Cynthia Gipson Lee, mother of Zacharias Lee, who attends the school and took part in Monday’s event. “Even for kids not interested in software development, it’s very inspiring for them.”

The school has about 200 students taking computer science courses in middle school, and ninth and tenth grades in the high school, said Ilknur Pehlivan, computer science teacher.

“It was incredible for us — wonderful for us,” Pehlivan said. “Very inspirational.”

Source: – Walter O’Brien

View more articles on New Jersey charter schools


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This entry was posted on December 11, 2013 by in Charter Schools, New Jersey and tagged , .


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