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State Honoree

Rickey Wheeling

Alabama

Rickey Wheeling, 17, of Gaylesville High School in Gaylesville, Alabama, envisioned a school that could offer its students the latest computer technology, so he raised the needed funds and built the computers himself. In his sophomore year, Rickey realized that his small, rural high school had "hardly enough money for school necessities, much less luxuries like computers." Rickey enlisted the support of his school newspaper, student government and principal, initiated a variety of fund­ raisers, secured matching grants, and arranged for a donation from Hewlett-Packard. Rickey dedicated his summer break to building and networking the computers and installing the software. "I learned that you shouldn't be hesitant to take action yourself if you see something that isn't right," said Rickey, who is now training younger students in computer assembly so that the project can continue after Rickey graduates.