High Tech Saturday exposes students to tech fields

Published 5:51 pm Wednesday, January 17, 2018



ENGELHARD — The technology industry continues to grow, and organizers at the Davis Youth Center in Hyde County want to make sure students are ready for it.

That’s why they’ve scheduled the first-ever High Tech Saturday on Feb. 3 — giving students in middle and high school the opportunity to explore technology-related careers, from drones and medical technology, to cryptocurrency.

Keys Benston, a member on the youth center’s board of directors, said there is a full line-up of speakers for students and any young adults who want to come. The overall goal is to show students in Hyde County possibilities for a positive future, away from the pitfalls of drugs and other distractions, Benston said.

“We’re trying to do something different in the area,” he said.

Among the Feb. 3 line-up are: a deputy sheriff from Hyde County Sheriff’s Office, discussing how students should avoid drugs and breaking the law; the Rev. Larry Shelton of Ahoskie, discussing how to stay grounded in faith while working in tech fields; Felicia Collins of Greenville, sharing her journey into nursing; Damian Conyers of Manteo, teaching about industrial engineering; Beaufort Mayor and Col. Rett Newton, retired Air Force, discussing drone technology and hosting a demonstration; Dale Thomas of Raleigh, talking about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies; and Tyrone Murray, talking about his work in computer programming and coding; and Chris Weston of Winston-Salem, talking about his work in medical technology.

Benston said he hopes to see up to 200 students attend the event. It is free and open to other counties, as well.

High Tech Saturday is sponsored by the Davis Youth Center, American Legion Post No. 226 in Swan Quarter and the Tyrrell County Community Development Corp. Benston said he and other organizers hope activities like High Tech Saturday will combat the “brain drain,” in which talented young people leave rural areas and never come back.

“We’re trying to reverse that, or by even if they do leave the area, they will come back to contribute by talking to other young people, and they’re sending back financial contributions to our churches and areas, as well as Davis Youth Center,” he said.

If successful, the youth center hopes to make this event an annual one.

“Technology today, if one finds out about it, it really doesn’t matter where you’re located in the world, as long as you have proper internet set up,” Benston said. “Long term, this could have a positive effect in eastern North Carolina, where hopefully there will be even more jobs related to technology.”

High Tech Saturday is Feb. 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch will be served. No cost to attend. Davis Youth Center is located at 33472 U.S. Highway 264, Engelhard. For more information, call 252-925-3970.