Skip to main content

SNHU, Celtics Open 10th Tech Lab at Manchester Middle School

Celtics 10 Lab Banner

While their classmates yelled and cheered for Lucky the Leprechaun's acrobatic flips, leaps and dunks, more than 20 tech-enthused middle school students were upstairs taking the first crack their school's brand new technology lab.

The lab at Southside Middle School is the 10th opened as part of a collaboration between Southern New Hampshire University and the Boston Celtics. It's the final of four labs at Manchester's middle schools.

"It's a huge resource for us because we don't have a lab that is hitting current 21st century needs," said Southside Principal Jennifer Gillis.

Celtics Forward, Daniel Theis, with student's from the Lego LeagueThe students - members of the school's Lego League, FIRST Robotics team and Coding Club - were greeted by representatives from the Celtics, including forward Daniel Theis and former player and current assistant coach Walter McCarty. Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and SNHU Chief of Staff Adrian Haugabrook were also on hand, and all four helped students participate in a computer coding exercise. Using code, students built a set of instructions that directed a digital basketball across the screen and into a basketball hoop.

The Celtics' Senior Director of Community Engagement Dave Hoffman said opening the lab was notable because it represented a fulfillment of the Celtics' and SNHU's pledge to improve the opportunities for students in their communities.

"It really just represents a long-term commitment," Hoffman said. "I think it's special that we've been able to do this together."

The lab - dubbed the Spartan Innovation Lab - features 25 Chrome laptop computers, a 3D and color printer, a 65-inch flat screen television mounted on one wall, as well a space for a green screen and the necessary lighting. The room is predominantly green to represent the Celtics, and one large wall features a huge graphic of the TD Garden floor. Another wall features the school's motto: Courage, Character, Community, Citizenship.

Gillis said the space will be perfect for many projects students are tackling. Right now, a group of eighth-grade students is envisioning what the city of Manchester will look like in 2030 from an urban planner's perspective. They are researching changes the city has undergone in recent history and building out ways it could be developed over the next dozen years. The new technology lab is the place where they can work collaboratively and then present their finished projects to teachers and their peers, Gillis said.

A group of students wearing Boston Celtics gear"It's an environment to draw the best out of our kids," she said. "Gone are the days of paper-pencil tasks. Now we've got them up showing us what they know. Not all ideas come out of one head anymore, so their ability to work together to draw on individual strengths - (this) room is built to make that happen."

Haugabrook said projects like Southside's technology lab are an excellent way for the university to connect with its community.

"You saw the young people's faces today as they did their coding. This is great work," he said. "It's not just SNHU and the Celtics giving. It's an opportunity for us to engage in learning, engage in the future, engage in an opportunity."

After the lab unveiling and coding exercise, students joined their peers in the gymnasium where they heard from Theis and McCarty and were treated to a couple more dunks by Lucky - including one that went directly over their principal's head.

Joe Cote is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Follow him on Twitter @JoeCo2323.

Explore more content like this article

Daniel Sylvester, an environmental science and biology graduate and Sarai Sylvester, a forensic psychology graduate at SNHU

SNHU Spotlight: Sarai and Daniel Sylvester, Graduating Twins

Sarai and Daniel Sylvester '23 crossed another graduation stage together to celebrate their bachelor's degrees from Southern New Hampshire University. The New England twins agreed that so much changed between the start of their college education and graduation day — including their confidence.
A black bookshelf full of books

24 Books to Inspire You in 2024

The New Year is a good time to think about what you learned in 2023 and look toward the future. Take a look at 24 books that have influenced members of the SNHU community. Exploring them could offer you fresh insights and different perspectives to take with you this year.
A graduate dressed in a cap and gown and holding a diploma over his head at the Fall 2023 SNHU Commencement.

A New Chapter Begins: The Story of SNHU’s Fall Class of 2023

This weekend, the SNHU Arena welcomed students from 50 different countries and every U.S. state and territory to celebrate their new degrees. The ceremonies marked an important chapter for more than 22,500 eligible graduates who joined a community of over 230,000 SNHU alumni.

About Southern New Hampshire University

Two students walking in front of Monadnock Hall

SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.