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Student lands internship with Google

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Before he entered kindergarten, Kenny Franks was learning his way around a computer. And before long, he was troubleshooting on the PC for his parents and teachers at school.

His early start in the world of technology helped put him on a path to receive multiple technology accolades during his grade school and high school years and recently helped him land an internship with Internet giant Google.

Franks, a freshman at Georgia Tech University, said he is excited about the opportunity to learn and work at the headquarters of one of the largest Internet companies in the world.

He said what he enjoys most about working with computers is being able to help people.

"I like being able to get computers to do things that they want them to do," he said.

Franks, 18, interviewed for the internship in September and was recently notified that he was one of the few freshmen to have ever been offered the job.

The paid internship, which will last 12 weeks during the summer, will be at the "Googleplex" in Manhattan, New York.

This will be his first time in New York City.

Carol Franks, Kenny's mother, said she is very proud of her son.

"He's always been strong in computers. He's always figured things out on his own," she said.

Soon after Kenny learned how to fire up the computer, Carol said Kenny was their in-house computer technician.

"It wasn't very long before he was figuring things out on his own," she said. "And it wasn't long before he was teaching us."

During his internship, Franks will be managing the internal network of Google. Along with servicing the servers and individual workstations, Franks will be able to observe how technology companies operate from the inside.

Franks said he hopes working at Google will help him decide on his future vocation.

He said we would like to work for a government organization or another organization that works for the "greater good."

Angie White, district technology resource teacher, said she has watched Franks grow in his knowledge and ability with computers throughout his school career.

"Kenny was a superstar," she said. "For as long as I can remember he has been involved in technology."

One of the ways that Franks got involved with technology was through the Shelby County School district's Student Technology Leadership program (STLP).

White said the program is designed to give students a leadership opportunity and a chance to have "hands on experience" with using technology.

Students are the quick adopters, she said, and usually catch on quicker than the teachers.

Through the programs, students receive training and experience in networking, computer maintenance, and computer systems.

Franks said the training he received through the program was crucial for learning computer systems and to receiving the internship.

The program, which started in 1995 in Shelby County, now is in every school in the district.