At Southwest, we strive to give back to the communities we serve by demonstrating our Servant’s Heart every day, both at work and at home. However, there are times when a small gesture can impact our community in a bigger way than expected. The expression “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure,” took on a whole new meaning this past summer when our Network Engineering Team in our Technology Department visited Oak Hill Academy in Dallas, Texas to replace their network infrastructure.
Expanding Oak Hill Academy’s Network
Oak Hill Academy is dedicated to providing a customized academic curriculum that includes academic learning experiences, organizational skills, character building, social-emotional health, and social skills learning. The curriculum at Oak Hill Academy gives students the space to understand, accept, and overcome their individual challenges so they can thrive in school, and in life.
Most recently Lauren Woods, Managing Director Technology at Southwest and parent of an Oak Hill Academy student, was consulted to help select a vendor to complete an overhaul on the network infrastructure. At the time, the school had many issues with technology outages which prevented faculty and students from accessing or streaming content for their coursework on a daily basis. Since Oak Hill Academy operates as a nonprofit school, they would often elect to fix things as they go due to a lack of funding. The limited infrastructure became a reality when everyone in the school would attempt to access data or stream at the same time, causing the entire schools system to fail. This made it fairly difficult for teachers to control what students were accessing.
Repurposing Equipment for a Good Cause
Lauren jumped right in and enlisted the help of Kevin Tucker, Director of Technology at Southwest, to help her decipher the best avenue to advise the school. Kevin then realized that Southwest had the equipment the school needed leftover from a completed project. Instead of holding onto the equipment despite not having a use for it, the equipment could be repurposed and given a new life – a win-win for both Southwest and Oak Hill Academy.
Throughout the next several days, the Network Engineering Team volunteered on their own time. The Team successfully replaced and upgraded Oak Hill Academy’s local network and wireless infrastructure with the latest technology and cloud management. The group also worked with Southwest’s cable vendor who supports our stations, TEAAM, to donate their time and materials to the project as well. The ultimate result of this upgrade and collaborative effort allows items such as desktop computers, wireless printing, and streaming to be all on one network without failing.
“We couldn’t afford the equipment, but the safety and education was truly needed by our school. It’s amazing. A godsend to have the support from Southwest,” shared Brit Smart, Executive Director of Oak Hill Academy. “We are a specialized school that serves children with special needs and language disorders—technology is critical in helping them grow and develop.”
A Gesture of Appreciation
Back in May, the upgrade was completed and the Oak Hill Academy staff hosted the volunteers for a pizza party as thank you from their school.
With a small gesture and roughly 70 volunteer hours, Oak Hill Academy can now reallocate funds that they would have spent on another project to benefit the students. This was a true testament of Teamwork. Not only did Southwest provide the infrastructure through excess from the warehouse, but our Partners also stepped up with labor and facilities materials. Without our partnerships, Employees, and Friends at Oak Hill Academy none of this could have been accomplished!