PATERSON, NJ - On the field Paterson sports legend helped lead his team to a Super Bowl victory. Off the field, Cruz has continued to show that teamwork pays off and, on Tuesday, announced that along with Altice USA and Acer donated 100 Chromebooks to the Paterson Public Schools District.

The donation comes as District officials continue their efforts which kicked off publically on April 24th with an online campaign to raise funds to purchase online devices for students to use while schools are closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. That effort, which has garnered donations from private individuals ranging from $5 to more than $1,000 is continuing. 

“Closing our school buildings to help stop the spread of COVID-19 was the right thing to do to keep staff and students safe, but it left many of our students on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer. “That is why we are so grateful for the efforts of Paterson’s own Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz, and the people at Altice USA and ACER, who banded together to put a Chromebook in the hands of more Paterson students.”

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There are nearly 30,000 students in grades pre-K through 12 in the Paterson Public School District. The district began distributing 7,000 Chromebooks to all high school students at the end of April. At the beginning of May, 1,667 Chromebooks that were purchased with reapportioned budget funds were distributed to as many middle school students as possible. After those efforts, about two thirds of the district’s students remain without a device or access the internet while schools are closed.

Saying that the impact of COVID-19 has been challenging across the world, Cruz added that when he learned of the Paterson School District’s need of technology for students at home he knew that his charity, the Victor Cruz Foundation, would find a way to support the challenge. “It took many calls and emails but we’re so thankful that our friends at Altice were able to join in support,” Cruz who was coached by Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly while at Paterson Catholic, said. “The need is still great and both myself and the Victor Cruz Foundation will continue to find ways to ensure our future leaders are equipped with the tools they need.”

Altice USA is the connectivity provider to the Paterson School District. During the COVID-19 crisis, Altice USA has offered its Altice Advantage Internet product free to student households and has provisioned more than 14,000 school-issued devices so students can access its Optimum WiFi network at no charge.

“As a proud, long-standing partner of Paterson Public Schools, we’re thrilled to have brought together Acer and the Victor Cruz Foundation to make this donation today. More than ever, connecting to the Internet is essential for families and students,” said Lee Schroeder, Executive Vice President, Government & Community Affairs/Chief Diversity Officer for Altice USA. “Similarly, to other recent programs such as student wifi service to connect thousands of devices throughout the district and the complimentary offer of our Altice Advantage Internet program to support remote learning for households with K-12 and college students, today’s donation is another sign of Altice USA’s commitment to our customers and future generations in New Jersey.”

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