AUGUSTA (WFXG) - We have an update to a story we first told you about here, about an ambitious fundraiser for Richmond County Schools, designed to bring tech to the classroom. That goal was reached--- and then some.

“When I first started this, a lot of times people were like at this time of the year, it might be hard to raise this much,” said Zola Francis, a 4th year medical student at the Medical College of Georgia. “Then, we got $3,000, $4,000, and now well over our goal. All I can say is that I’m so thankful to everyone in the community.”

Francis is excited, and relieved, about completing a massive fundraiser for Rise Augusta. The fundraiser will kick in in the nick of time for the Richmond County School District.

“We got a lot of kids who have fallen behind during the process, and it’s going to take some effort to get them back up to speed,” said Kevin Wade, the CEO of IntelliSystems in Augusta.

“If they have technology, if they have a computer, it’s shared by everyone in the family, but more often than not, they don’t have that,” said Laurie Cook, the director of Rise Augusta.

Over the course of two weeks, Francis helped organize a variety of different small fundraisers and statistics to drive traffic for the cause.

“What really kept me motivated was just how much Director Cook was just willing to make it work, and then sometimes she’d send me statistics about how much of a need there was, or I’d see new news stories about how much students were falling behind,” said Francis.

And Wade and his team saw the project and jumped in to help give a matching $1,000 to get the project over the finish line.

“What’s really cool about this too, is that kids are going to be learning about the technology and using the technology every day, and it’s something they can carry forward really for their lifetime,” said Wade.

As the dollars trickled in, Francis and Cook felt overjoyed and relieved. 

“I’m just thrilled, because a lot of kids will really benefit from this, and it’ll be theirs to keep, thanks to Zola and her team,” said Cook.

“It just gives me a lot of hope, to know that I’m leaving now, and I know that I had some sort of impact,” said Francis.

As IntelliSystems works to get the laptops in place, Laurie is excited to see a new future for these students.

“Just because you’re poor, just because there’s all these things going on in your family doesn’t mean you don’t want to learn, doesn’t mean that you don’t want to engage in the school,” said Cook. “So, the technology really opens up that opportunity.”

Even though her work with the school may be done, Francis will be keeping tabs on the project from her next stop in Charleston to see how the money is being used for Richmond County Schools.

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