Centura Blog

Connecting Communities & Careers

Centura College Donates Laptops to Schools in Uganda and Norfolk

Posted by on Jun 16, 2020 in Campus Connections, Community Connections, Press Release, Spotlight Feature

Written by Nicole Gleaton

Centura College donates these 30 boxes of laptops

Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Centura College, and Tidewater Tech have teamed together to donate 60 laptop computers to Kiwoko Citizen’s Private School in Uganda and Azalea Gardens Middle School in Norfolk.  By working together with the headmaster and principal of the two schools, the colleges have worked to provide hardware, software, and instructional projects that will unite school children around the world in studying cultural research, writing, business technology, and communication.

Centura College Employee Donates laptops

The project launched with the Executive Vice President of the institutions, Dr. Joel English, worked alongside his brother, Dr. James English, who is a professor of Biology, to support international learning within the developing country of Uganda.  James was conducting research in Uganda’s remote villages, studying how pathogens passed from livestock to people through cattle parasites.  He came across a 12-year old orphan named Sharon, who spent her days tending to cattle in a small homestead.  She was unable to attend school without family to fund her education.  James decided he wanted to help Sharon and support the school, in whatever way he could.  As James got to know Sharon, he realized that, ”sometimes our limits are not a shortage of resources, ideas, or goodwill, but rather an understanding of how we can help others:  we often just don’t know how we can help or what role we can play to support others.”

Centura College donates these 30 boxes of laptopsAfter helping Sharon with the costs associated with enrolling into the Kiwoko Citizen’s Private School, James got to know the school’s Headmaster.  He inquired about the school’s needs, and the Headmaster stated that the school had a lack of teaching technologies, and that they were in dire need of laptop computers.  James turned to his brother, Joel, who heads the group of career colleges in the United States.  Joel’s solution was to not only provide a 30-laptop computer lab to Kiwoko Citizen’s Private School, but to also provide a computer lab to Azalea Gardens Middle School, a local public school near the institution’s home office in Southeastern Virginia.  Joel worked with the Board Chair of Norfolk Public Schools and the Azalea Gardens Middle School principal to identify faculty to not only accept the computer donation but to work with faculty at Kiwoko Citizen’s Private School to develop classroom projects and collaborative research assignments between the students who live worlds apart.  Joel stated, “We hope the classrooms in Uganda and Virginia will interact, write to each other, and study each other’s cultures using the same technologies, to broaden the context and meaning of what both groups of students learn.  We are deeply committed to supporting the communities we serve.  These days, though, ‘community’ has taken on a global meaning.  We’re thrilled to be able to support the Kiwoko Citizen’s Private School in Uganda and the young scholars here at home.”

Centura College donates these 30 boxes of laptopsAIM, Centura College, and Tidewater Tech shipped the laptops at the end of May, and they have arrived in Uganda.  They will reach Kiwoko on June 27th, when the school reopens.  Ben Clark, Associate Director of Academic Affairs, handled the final push and says, “I am elated to share that DHL finally picked up the 15 boxes of laptops. Each box contains 2 laptops, and they are now making their way to the Kiwoko Citizen’s Private School, located outside of Kampala, Uganda.  We are so excited and humbled to connect students from two different continents.  We will make the local donation when it’s safe to do so.”  The colleges will hand deliver 30 laptops to Azalea Gardens Middle School over the summer months, and collaborative projects between the two student groups will commence in the Fall of 2020.

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast in the United States and headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demand of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the Federal Aviation Administration exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, San Francisco Bay, Orlando, and Norfolk. Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a FAA Approved A&P School and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Not all programs available at all locations. For consumer, and additional information, visit AviationMaintenance.edu or call (888) FIX-JETS. Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AIM.edu.

About Centura College

Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/centura.edu.

About Tidewater Tech

Tidewater Tech is a career training school that specializes in trade vocations including Auto Technician, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Building Maintenance and Repair and Welding. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance, and is accredited by the Commission of the Council of Occupational Education (COE). Tidewater Tech is certified to Operate by SCHEV. Learn more at www.TidewaterTechTrades.edu or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TidewaterTech.edu.


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Waking Up to Social Justice

Posted by on Jun 9, 2020 in Press Release, Spotlight Feature

A Pledge from the Leadership of Centura College, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, and Tidewater Tech

A statement from Benjamin Franklin, borrowed from ancient Greek wisdom, has been quoted quite often lately:  “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”  That statement hits home with me in the wake of the George Floyd murder, as it says to me personally:  Joel, if you are not just as outraged at acts of violence and systematic racism as an African American would be, then you’re sleeping through one of the most importance crises of American history.  

It’s time to wake up.

I recently watched a program called “Into an American Uprising: White Accountability,” which featured Tim Wise, a lecturer and author of several books that fight racism in America.  Wise discussed the seemingly constant start-and-stop of race reform in our country, often sparked by a tragic killing of a person of color resulting in a temporary collective outcry, but then followed by distraction and forgetfulness.  Wise said, “You have that moment where you wake up. But then too often, you just hit that snooze button and you go back to bed…. I’m hoping, especially because all of this is happening against the backdrop of the disparate racial impact of COVID-19, rather than hitting the snooze button for the 11th or 12th time, we are finally gonna get out of bed.”

It’s time to wake up.

I cannot know whether the tragic killing of George Floyd will be an authentic beginning to true revolutionary change throughout our country, or whether it will end in another cycle of dozing off at the wheel.  But I can tell you that for me, for my family, and for our institutions—Centura College, Aviation Institution of Maintenance, and Tidewater Tech—we will not hit the snooze button.  Within our institutions, I pledge:

  • We stand against racism in every form.
  • We actively promote opportunity and prosperity equally among all races, genders, orientations, and identities.
  • We do not tolerate speech or action that harbors hatred or antagonism between groups of people.
  • We take practical steps toward inclusive relationships within our organization and throughout the community.

In early June, a group of leaders at our Home Office met to have an open discussion about how we can deliberately incorporate racial inclusion, celebration of diversity, and building of cross-cultural relationship into our conscious livelihood.  We know, without a shadow of a doubt, that diversity is one of our school characteristics that makes us great.  All of our campuses demonstrate not only a rainbow of races and cultures within our student body, but we are also blessed with diversity within our faculty and staff at every level.

To celebrate and improve upon this environment of inclusion, our leaders pledged to develop ongoing conversation about inclusion and cross-cultural relationship as a part of our ongoing process.  This group is currently developing a webinar series, led by female and male African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian leaders at our Home Office, entitled “Diversity, Inclusion, Relationship:  A Conversation with Institutional Leadership.”  I have asked every faculty and staff member in our institution to sign up for one of these conversations to discuss diversity and inclusion as one of our most important attributes within our educational process, and as one of our most important assets with which we can educate tomorrow’s workforce as we grow together as a work family.  One of the goals of these conversations is to get our staff’s ideas on how we can make sure that this time in American history is transformational for us, and that we never fall back to sleep.

On March 31, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered an address at the National Cathedral in Washington, and I believe he was speaking directly to us today about sleep.  Dr. King told the tale of Rip Van Winkle, who walked up a mountain and slept for twenty years—indeed, a full generation—while the world went on without him.  Dr. King said:

The most striking thing about the story of Rip Van Winkle is not merely that Rip slept twenty years, but that he slept through a revolution. While he was peacefully snoring up in the mountain, a revolution was taking place that at points would change the course of history…. And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.

Within our institution, we will not sleep.  We are committed to fully incorporating diversity, inclusion, and relationship into our conscious daily lives, not just our quiet, unspoken thoughts.  We will be an outspoken mecca of racial harmony, not just a quiet place where we do good work together.  I believe our country needs to embrace our collective outrage toward social injustice and systematic racism, and use that outrage productively to demand a better country.  And with twenty campuses around the country, I believe we can have a strong impact, not only for our staff, faculty, and students, but also for our communities throughout America.

It’s time to wake up and not fall back to sleep again.


Dr. Joel A. English

Executive Vice President

Aviation Institute of Maintenance | Centura College | Tidewater Tech

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