New computers bring virtual museum to MLHS

The horizons have expanded for students at Maple Lake High School thanks to a computer lab stocked with 28 state-of-the-art machines. And the extent of those horizons was put to the test last week when students explored the vast Center of Holocaust and Genocide website at the University of Minnesota.

At the invitation of high school English teacher Naomi Durst, Vicky Knickerbocker, an outreach educator from the University of Minnesota, traveled to Maple Lake to guide students through the website. “My job is to come and show the teachers and students what’s available,” Knickerbocker said.

In her introduction to 10th grade English students and participants in the Holocaust/WW II class taught by Durst and Lisa Elfmann, Knickerbocker said over a million students visit the Center of Holocaust and Genocide website at and called the site “too big to comprehend.”

Students explored the website in an effort to answer a list of questions posed by Knickerbocker, such as “Why was a Senate resolution passed on October 5, 1999 to create a Raoul Wallenberg Day?” and “What are the names of three Holocaust survivors from Minnesota?”

Library/Media Supervisor Barb Reitmeier said the new media center computers purchased with maintenance referendum funding make it possible to visit such complex websites as those offered by the University of Minnesota.

“It would have been difficult to provide this type of learning experience for kids without the new computers,” she said, noting the efforts of Technology Technician Coordinator Randy Benoit to acquire the new technology.

Benoit said the school was able to get a good buy on the Gateway Profile 4 computers, which are all-in-one, flat-screen machines that do not have separate components. The new computers feature a Pentium 4 processor, 20 gigabytes of memory, 512 megabytes of RAM, and DVD/CR-RW capabilities.

District Media Specialist Debra Craft said the new equipment provides students with “a true multi-media experience. Our teachers are going to be bringing students in fast and furious,” she laughed.

Media Center hours are 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and extended hours to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.