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Seventy to graduate from Tubby's Klubhouse, a program named for former UK Coach Smith

About 70 students have spent 10 days this summer learning about computers as part of Tubby’s Klubhouse/Dell TechKnow program and will graduate on Friday, June 14.


The graduation ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Fayette County School’s Norsworthy Auditorium. The ceremony will bring the total number of Tubby’s Klubhouse graduates since 2004 to 1,495.

The students have earned computers and monitors to keep. The equipment was donated to Tubby’s Klubhouse by Central Bank and Fayette County Schools, as well as LexMark.

The students attended 40 hours of classes at six locations – Castlewood, Dunbar, Gainesway and Kenwick community centers, Morton Middle School; and the Urban League Technology Center.

Named for former University of Kentucky head basketball Coach Tubby Smith, the Tubby’s Klubhouse Program began in the fall of 2004. Its mission was to close the technology gap and provide life skills education for at-risk middle school students.

It is a collaboration and joint funding effort between the Tubby Smith Foundation, the Parra Foundation, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and its Division of Parks & Recreation, Dell Inc., the Lexington Urban League and Fayette County Schools.

Since the departure of Smith from the University of Kentucky, the Tubby Smith Foundation has continued to provide funding to cover the various costs of the program thanks to the 2008 fund-raising effort led by Ro Parra, owner of Millennium Farm in Lexington and a retired vice president of the Americas for Dell Inc.

“This is part of Tubby’s continuing effort to help those in need and help to continue the education of youth in Kentucky,” said Van Florence, executive director of the Tubby Smith Foundation. He added that funding is in place to continue the program for several more years.

“We always have great interest in providing meaningful programs for youth in Lexington and are grateful to Coach Smith and Van Florence for their long-standing support of this ‘learn and earn’ opportunity,” said Jerry Hancock, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. “Coach Smith’s original commitment to fund the program was for seven years and the fact that we are now two years beyond that speaks volumes about his commitment to the community.”

The students earn a refurbished desktop computer they disassemble and re-build. They also install software, upgrade and diagnose and fix basic hardware problems and learn to use word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. Teachers from Fayette County Public Schools serve as the instructors for the Dell TechKnow program and classes are usually offered in the fall and spring semesters of each school year.

Other local partners in the program include Lexmark, the Keeneland Foundation, Central Bank and Trust, Kentucky Trade Computers and Fifth-Third Bank.

The original name, Tubby’s Clubhouse, was changed in 2008 to Tubby’s Klubhouse to honor the late Bill Keightley, long-time equipment manager for the UK men’s basketball team.

Contributions to continue the Tubby’s Klubhouse program may be sent to Van Florence, executive eirector, Tubby Smith Foundation in care of Eric Howard at the Division of Parks and Recreation, 469 Parkway Drive, Lexington, Ky., 40504.


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