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Medical Center Health System, MCHS Foundation make large investment in schools

Medical Center Health System (MCHS) looks for opportunities to invest in the community beyond just the medicine it provides. At its December 4 meeting, the hospital board and the MCHS Foundation approved a tremendous investment – $300,000 to be exact – in Ector County Independent School District. The money will provide 1,170 Chromebook laptops to be distributed among Bonham Middle School, Bowie Middle School, Nimitz Middle School, and Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School.


Ravi Shakamuri, President of the MCHS Foundation board agreed this donation is more than a contribution of computers. “This is an investment with confidence that our students and our teachers are, and will be, amongst the best. Just as new technology helped the Permian Basin to bring about a revolution in the Energy sector, this marks the beginning of a new era in Ector County, where the doors to 21st Century learning of real world career skills is now made available for our students to learn and for our teachers to teach.”


ECISD Interim Superintendent of Schools Jim Nelson thanked the hospital, calling it a privilege to receive this gift. “This is going to give our middle school students and teachers much more high quality technology. It will help improve the way we assess and, ultimately teach, students. It’s an honor to accept this.”


The work on this project began several months ago with Mr. Shakamuri and MCH President & Chief Executive Officer Rick Napper leading the way. The MCHS Foundation contributed $113,640, MCHS matched it with $113,000 and hospital vendor Cerner donated $73,359 plus discounts on the Chromebooks.


This donation from MCHS is the most recent, and largest, example of burgeoning collaborations aimed at improving education in Odessa. All six ECISD middle schools will now be equipped with laptops for student use. Last month, Southwest Bank gave $78,000 to fund Chromebooks for Crockett Middle School, and Ector Middle School has state money available for this type of technology through its in-district charter status.


The President of the Ector County Hospital District Board Mary Thompson said she was honored to be part of this kind of partnership. “I hope it does nothing but grow. Our students are so very important to our future and to our community.”


A sentiment echoed by Mr. Shakamuri, as he talked about the hospital’s involvement in several big collaborations. “With Odessa College’s Six Point Program, ACCESS program for career exploration and mentorship, Education Foundation, Chamber of Commerce and UT Permian Basin, we have the beginning of a great story in the Education sector that can rival the success of the Energy sector.”


Hospital and school district reps pose with ceremonial check inside the hospital board room.