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Plum students display computer skills in community class

| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 3:33 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader
Madeline Monick and Katie Mozelewski, both seventh-grade GATE students, work with Barbara Giammatteo on computer instruction. The program is part of an intergenerational initiative with the Plum Community Center and the Plum School District.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader Jonah Albert, seventh grade GATE student, gives computer instruction to Dave Leiendecker. The program is part of an intergenerational initiative with the Plum Community Center and the Plum School District.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Plum Advance Leader Wilma Arndt (center) gets computer instruction from Megan Darnell and Carmen Veltri, both eighth grade GATE students, in a after school program at O'Block Junior High. The program is part of an intergenerational initiative with the Plum Community Center and the Plum School District.

Working as a flight attendant didn't give Dave Leiendecker much time to learn how to use a computer.

Leiendecker, 62, of Plum decided last year, when he retired from United Airlines, that he was going to take the time to sharpen his computer skills.

Leiendecker recently found out about a “Computer Connections” class at Oblock Junior High School.

The three-session class featured seventh- and eighth-grade students in Oblock's Gifted and Talented Education, or GATE, program instructing senior citizens and other adults on the basics of using a computer — everything from proper use of a mouse to setting up an Excel spreadsheet.

Terry Trenz, eighth-grade computer teacher and GATE adviser, said she thought of the concept last summer while working on her curriculum for the school year.

Trenz said she found that the community center doesn't offer computer training because of a lack of computers. So she decided to pair the students with the older residents at Oblock.

“It seemed to me to be the perfect match,” Trenz said.

The seventh- and eighth-graders prepared lesson plans for the three classes and worked one on one with their “students.”

Frank Czura, 14, an eighth-grade “instructor,” said he decided to volunteer for the class because he likes helping others.

“It is nice to help them with stuff they have trouble doing,” Czura said. “I just picked it (computer knowledge) up as I go along.”

During last week's class, Frank helped an older resident learn how to create an Excel spreadsheet.

The students also explained to the older residents the importance of Internet safety.

“The kids have had lessons on it (Internet safety) since they were little,” Trenz said. “The adults have not.”

Jonah Albert, 13, a seventh-grader, taught Leiendecker how to use a mouse and how to cut, copy and paste.

“He was a good student,” Jonah said.

Leiendecker also was pleased with the results.

“Jonah did an excellent job,” Leiendecker said. “He was patient with me. He started with the basic things. I learned the right way to do things like turning the computer on and off.”

Barbara Giammatteo, 72, of Penn Hills wanted to get over her insecurity about using a computer.

“I want to get myself acclimated,” Giammatteo said.

Katie Mozelewski, 13, a seventh-grader, said she took away lessons from her time with the older residents.

“It was a good way to learn about the community, meet people and get to know a lot about Plum,” Mozelewski said.

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