SALEMBURG — With a smile, Charles Royal was happy to place a $10,000 check in the hands of Gerald Johnson, principal of Salemburg Elementary School, and a group of teachers.
The money donated Thursday from the Donnie M. Royal Foundation will be used to purchase technology equipment such as laptops and software for children attending the school. It was made possible by members of the School Improvement Team applying for a grant. The participants included Vanessa Parker, Kembrie Farrow, Diana Herwy and Tara Armwood.
“The technology will benefit the students here at Salemburg and I’m ecstatic,” Johnson said. “It’s really a need. With the change in technology, it’s happening so quickly, so this is going to help us stay up to date with the new technology.”
Parker, a second grade teacher, said material will be used for classroom assignments and testing. It will also help with the concept of making the students “21st Century learners” — which includes aspects such as digital literacy, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.
Royal, who serves as the vice president of the Donnie M. Royal Foundation, attended Salemburg Elementary School when he was younger and was pleased to give back.
“I’m excited to see the facility,” Royal said about returning. “We’re also excited to meet the need. I think the technology need is something that’s near and dear to me.”
Royal considers himself to be a 57-year-old “techie” and says he thinks it’s important for students to begin early when it comes to learning about technology.
“To me those type of needs, that those teachers worked for and received, is a powerful thing,” Royal said. “Whatever we can do to help them, we want to support them. They don’t get enough. We need to help them as much as we can.”
Helping organizations and schools is the purpose of the foundation. It was named after a doctor who practiced medicine for more than 60 years. As a hometown doctor, he responded to house calls. There’s also a museum in his honor.
“This foundation has made an impact in several ways,” Royal said.
Royal said Donnie and his wife, Dorothy, would have supported the need at Salemburg Elementary School.
“They made a lot of contributions to churches and a lot of religious organizations,” Royal said. “They had an heart for the education process. So we began to think about what that will look like here.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.