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    R.J. Reynolds Supports Education

    Cigarette maker pledges $1 million to technology initiative.

    A $1 million pledge from the R.J. Reynolds Foundation to the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools' K-12 technology initiative will help bring the school of the future closer to reality.

    "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco has a century-long history of supporting local education," said Andrew Schindler, chairman and CEO of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., in announcing the five-year grant. "Continuing that tradition is important to us. This technology upgrade program will benefit the whole community for years to come -- students and their parents, teachers, local employers and economic development initiatives."

    The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County "Blueprint for Technology" initiative will put 11,000 new computers in classrooms, in addition to fiber-optic connections and infrastructure, and provide curriculum software and extensive teacher training.

    The $38.25 million project, the first of its kind in the country, was developed in 1998 following a study commissioned by the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. The plan is a blueprint to make the Winston- Salem/Forsyth County school system a national leader in using technology in grades K-12 by 2003, Schindler said.

    "The quality of the educational resources in a community is of great importance to companies looking to relocate or establish their businesses in our area," Schindler said. "As we work to recruit new technology-based businesses to the Triad, one of the first things they evaluate is whether the local workforce is well-educated and well-trained. With this technology initiative, we will be able to demonstrate that our students are very marketable and technologically savvy."

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