Chester Housing Authority

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Teacher & students team up to bring technology to kids in Chester, PA


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 CHESTER, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Marrea Walker-Smith is making sure kids in her hometown grow up with far more opportunities than she had.

"I grew up right here in the city of Chester in the low-income housing developments," she said.Tthere were limited opportunities here, specifically the kind of opportunities that we're trying to offer here at the Entrepreneur Innovation Center."

Walker-Smith, now a business teacher at Devon Preparatory School in Chester County, partnered with her very own students to turn a dream into a reality.

After months of planning and researching, they recently debuted the Entrepreneur Innovation Center. It is a part of the Chester Housing Authority and located within the Booker T. Washington Community Center.

A grant provided by the McLean Contributionship, among other donors and sponsors, was able to facilitate the creation of several labs with cutting-edge technology. These include cameras, a green screen, and microphones for music and podcast production.

And it wouldn't be possible without the hard work of Walker-Smith's students, who volunteered their time and talents to design the space over the summer.

"It started in the classroom and now we're here about eight to nine months later," said Jack Shaw, a rising senior at Devon Prep.

Shaw and his classmates, Chase Kemm and Mark Bennett, collaborated on the creation of an apparel studio, photography studio, podcast room, and more. They will also occasionally provide direct instruction to students from the neighborhood.

These three friends hope their impact will last long after they've moved onto college.

"People can utilize this opportunity and take that and definitely help grow the city," said Shaw.