United Arab Emirates Pledges $1 Million to Joplin High School

Nearly three months after a tornado tore through southwestern Missouri, the United Arab Emirates has pledged up to $1 million to Joplin High School to help it purchase new Apple laptops for students, the Associated Press reports.

According to Dana al Marashi, who works for the heritage and social affairs department at the UAE embassy in Washington, D.C., the gift was made after officials of the oil-rich country read an AP article that detailed JHS's challenges following the May 22 tornado, which killed nearly a hundred and sicty people and injured many others. Moreover, because the school building was destroyed by the tornado, when the academic year begins this coming week, half the 2,200 displaced students will attend class in a converted big-box store, while the remaining students attend class in another school building that did not suffer as much damage.

As part of its pledge, the UAE donated $500,000 toward the district's $2.7 million computer-assisted learning initiative and up to $500,000 to match similar contributions and help spur a long-term relationship between the country and the school. In addition, the gift will enable the district to allocate proceeds from its insurance settlement to the initiative, rather than for textbooks that the laptops will replace.

"The students are thrilled," said assistant superintendent Angie Besendorfer. "The way we teach and the way students learn is going to be very different."