Student Spends Summer Raising Awareness about the Digital Divide, Encouraging Peers Engaged in e-Learning

With online summer learning presenting challenges for some of Hillsborough County Public Schools most vulnerable students, community members of all ages are rallying to help provide support and resources.

Dylan, a 7th Grader at Randall Middle, reached out to Hillsborough Education Foundation to see how he could support fellow students who lacked resources and struggled to connect to their eLearning platforms.

To kick off his project and encourage kids who were participating in online summer learning, Dylan created goodie bags for students at two of our highest needs schools—Broward Elementary and McDonald Elementary.

“I struggled with eLearning and I thought how hard it would be for the kids who don’t have the same resources I have to do eLearning, so I wanted to do something to reward the students that have completed eLearning,” Dylan explained.

Throughout the summer, Dylan collected donations from the community and packaged 300 goodie bags with a variety of snacks and toys like a beach ball, bubbles and playdough. The bags also included a water bottle from Hess Orthodontics and a congratulatory note celebrating students’ successful completion of online summer learning with a coupon for a free ice cream cone attached from Caspers Company McDonald’s Restaurants.

Hillsborough Education Foundation CEO Kim Jowell said she was thankful for Dylan’s contribution because it not only showcases his incredible selflessness, but also highlights that everybody can help make a difference in the lives of students in need—even their peers.

“I am so thankful that there are young men like you Dylan, who think of others, that’s not the average boy, and you are obviously something special,” Jowell said. “I’m thankful that we get to benefit from it and our students get to, too, so thank you very much!”

Broward Elementary School Principal Angela Livingston said she was ecstatic when she learned of Dylan’s project and thinks his desire to help other students is amazing.

“We’re really big on trying to celebrate our scholars while they continue the eLearning, so this was just one added way to praise them for their perseverance, as well as just give an opportunity for the parents to see the importance of trying to keep them learning through these unprecedented times,” Livingston said. “It was really great to hear that we have scholars in our district who want to give back and want to continue to help other children.”

As students prepare for school to begin, Dylan said he hopes that students who completed summer learning are able to pause and feel proud of the hard work they accomplished even in the midst of their challenging circumstances.

“I hope that it makes them feel happy and very accomplished and proud of themselves,” Dylan said. “It just makes me happy to know that I’m helping other people during these hard times.”

Ready to do your part to help ensure Hillsborough County Public Schools students in need have the necessary supplies,  resources and support for continued academic success? Learn how you can get involved at