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COLUMBUS, Miss. – Severstal Steel is taking part in an ambitious step to provide new opportunities for children who have grown up with few of them.

The Palmer Home for Children had a surprise for its kids – a new computer lab that will serve as a new education component in the home for foster and abandoned children, starting this fall.

The lab and the effort it represents are part of a learning experience both inside and outside the classroom.

Both kids and workers at the Palmer Home say they are pleased to have a new school, thanks to a $35,000 gift from Severstal.

Besides a new computer lab, the money helped pay for teachers and renovate an old building on the Palmer Home campus. It also helps introduce the kids to a whole new world.

“It’s also an added bonus to expose them to the industry, to expose them to the technical arts, to expose them to the modern technology,” said Katya Pruett, Director of Public Relations Communications for Severstal.

For years, Palmer Home has offered tutoring and other programs for its kids. The Severstal gift is bringing the computer world literally to their doorstep.

They’ll be learning history, or they’ll be learning some other subjects, and they’ll be able to not just read it in the books, but they’ll be able to sort’ve dive into the digital age and see everything on screen,” Pruett said.

Students say the lab wasn’t what they expected.

“I thought it was going to be smaller, and not that much computers,” said homeschooler Savannah Russell. “I thought it was only going to be like two or three computers.”

And they look forward to using the new technology.

“The computers are touch screen, so I think that’s going to be fun, and then the classrooms are pretty decent,” Russell said.

Palmer Home officials say the computer lab is just the beginning. Their goal is to eventually renovate the rest of the building for more education space.

“Even though we’re going to start out with 10 to 12 children here this fall, long term plans could include more and more children,” said Drake Bassett, Palmer’s president/CEO. “We look forward to having the rest of the building, to be able to school all the children that we have, and other children in the area.”

Last year, Palmer Home got the idea of starting a school to give some of its residents an alternative to local schools. The Severstal gift helped make the idea a reality sooner than leaders had expected.


COLUMBUS, Miss. – Severstal North America, one of the country’s leading flat-rolled steel producers, and Palmer Home for Children, a ministry dedicated to children in need, who are growing up without the support of a natural family, held today a dedication ceremony for a new, fully-equipped, state-of-the-art computer lab. Made possible by a donation from Severstal, the lab will be used by children who are home-schooled on campus.

The computer lab will provide an additional avenue for the children to learn in new, innovative ways using the latest technology to enhance their classroom experience.

“Palmer Home is a hopeful place in our community, a place where children can grow, learn and realize their full potential,” said Madhu G. Ranade, Vice President and General Manager, Severstal Columbus. “We wanted to give these children the latest tools to fuel their curiosity and heighten their learning, especially in science and technology.”

Palmer Home President and CEO Drake Bassett thanked the company for its generous contribution. “Education is a key component to the future of our children. Some require individualized training to accomplish their goals and we now have the tools to support and enhance their learning. We could not have launched this initiative without Severstal’s leadership and generosity.”

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