Minnesota Timberwolves player Kevin Garnett has donated a career-minded 4XL Lab (meaning, “For Excellence in Leadership”) at Washburn High School, 201 W. 49th St. on Sept. 29.
The 4XL Lab is equipped with computers and furniture to facilitate the program's curriculum, which is geared toward high school and college students as they prepare for careers. Meant to be a one-stop shop, the curriculum provides minority students with Web-based advice and training.
The 4XL Lab includes 55 computers, three wireless routers, two network printers, one LCD projector, chairs, tables and posters.
4XL spokesperson Ken Blacklow said Garnett hopes to place a lab in each of the district's high schools by the end of basketball season. Garnett strives to use his 2004 status as Most Valuable Player to his advantage - to encourage and motivate students to learn more about the fields they're interested in, he said.
In a statement, Garnett said, “The 4XL program provides an online roadmap that all kids need to achieve their goals. It is critical that we give them the best technology to help create a top-quality learning environment in their schools.”
This is Garnett's first 4XL Lab to go into a school, although he has donated computer equipment to Seed Academy, 1604 Brookdale Dr., and he officially announced the program's launch at North High School, 1500 James Ave. N. in 2003.
4XL pivots around an interactive Web site wherein a “Leadership Roadmap,” e-mail-based curriculum, virtual mentors and business immersions come together. Students generate a six-year plan (which looks two years beyond high school) to establish goals and a clear career path.
Incentives through Kevin Garnett's “Closet,” reward students for their hard work.
Kids played a role in how the space would look and feel with a graffiti-style logo that they painted. There is also comfortable furniture, and Kevin Garnett posters hang on the wall.
Of 3,100 students in the program nationwide, over 77 percent have low-income backgrounds. One-third lack Internet access at home. Additionally, 36 percent are the first to go to college in their families, according to Blacklow.
Washburn Principal Steve Couture said the structured and timely curriculum would “do a lot for students” and supplant counselors' efforts.
Achieve Minneapolis!, the Minneapolis Public Schools' foundation, will staff the lab with a career center coordinator to be a link between counselors and the lab. Best Buy and the National Basketball Association also sponsored the program
For more information, check out www.4XL.org.