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Amazon surprises World Language Academy students with 45 tablets
World Language Academy fourth-grader Ashley Cook, center, joins fellow student council members Ava Migliore, left, and Isobel McCain in testing out new Kindle Fire Kids Edition tablets Thursday morning following a short meeting with Amazon reps. Forty-five tablets were donated to the school's fourth-grade classes, each with access to the Amazon App Store and book store.

When World Language Academy Co-Principal Brittney Bennett got an email about a local business possibly donating some supplies, she didn't know who, what or when.

The business turned out to be Braselton’s Amazon distribution center, and the supplies were 45 free Kindle Fire Kids Edition tablets given as a surprise to fourth-grade classes Thursday morning.

The elementary school is the only school in Hall County that has received the gift at this point.

One teacher from each grade was chosen to write a proposal. Fourth-grade Spanish teacher Ruby Castro’s proposal said she would use the tablets to incorporate technology, use educational games and read electronic books as part of her curriculum.

The school’s other four fourth-grade classes will also use the Kindle Fire tablets.

The specific donation from Amazon was kept a secret until the fourth-graders gathered and sat criss-crossed on the floor of school’s media center Thursday to receive the tablets, fidgeting where they sat in excitement.

Once the announcement was made, the fourth-grade student council stood at the front of the crowd to open the packages.

World Language Academy was also given a $500 Amazon gift card to spend for educational applications. Ten thousand books and apps were preloaded onto the devices.

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller told the kids he fully believed in the curriculum and the WLA model.

“Technology is vital to education now,” Miller said.

Amazon site leader Shane Screnock said he admired the school’s commitment to multicultural learning and that's why they were chosen for the gifts.

“We're excited to be a part of it,” Screnock said.

The Kindle Fire tablets will stay with the fourth-grade teachers, who will use them with current and upcoming fourth-graders.

“As teachers, the most important thing is seeing the kids happy … teaching them how to be responsible,” Castro said. “We can’t wait to use them in the classroom.”