HILLSBORO - The Oregon 4-H Tech Wizards, an Oregon State University Extension Service 4-H club in Washington County, recently received a prestigious award and a share of a large national education grant that will help the club expand its technology resources.

The 4-H Tech Wizards club helps introduce Latino youth to communications technology and encourages members to share their knowledge with others. The Business Education Compact, an Oregon nonprofit group that promotes business and education partnerships, presented its Business-School Partnership Achievement Award to the program during the organization's recent annual awards banquet in Portland.

Lisa Conroy, 4-H youth field faculty in the Washington County office of the OSU Extension Service, and several club members and supporters attended the event to receive the award.

"This award is a wonderful acknowledgement of all the hard work so many people have done to make the 4-H Tech Wizards club successful, especially our volunteer mentors from the Intel Latino Network who have given thousands of hours to the program," said Conroy. "We've enjoyed very generous support from many partners in the community, as well as the Intel Corporation."

The BEC award citation praised the 4-H Tech Wizards club as a "highly original mentoring program that has experienced phenomenal success and serves as a national model for U.S. Department of Agriculture and 4-H programs addressing minority audiences." BEC annually presents several awards to K-12 school programs and other educational activities that "make education more relevant and exciting for students."

The Oregon 4-H Tech Wizards club was also recently named as one of several partners to receive a $327,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education's "Stand and Deliver with Technology" program. The funds will be used to provide technology education opportunities to Latino youth and lower-income Hispanic families in Washington County.

Other educational organizations included on the grant are Centro Cultural, a non-profit community technology center in Cornelius; Forest Grove and Hillsboro high schools; the Washington County 4-H Leaders Association and Tualatin Valley Television, a public access TV channel in the Washington County area.

The 4-H Tech Wizards program will use a share of the grant funds to acquire software and hardware for the club's new GPS-GIS technology project area. The group will also be featured in November as an outstanding technology education program on Intel's Innovation Odyssey Web site, Conroy said.

"This honor is usually reserved for teachers and programs in the formal K-12 education system," said Conroy. "4-H Tech Wizards was invited due to our successful programs in new technologies such as GIS-GPS."

More information is available on the web, at http://www97.intel.com/odyssey/index.asp.

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Lisa Conroy, 541-725-2113