Students at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside have a brand new technology center created with an endowment from a local philanthropic foundation.
Local elected officials and school faculty on Friday joined Tony Subraj, director of the Subraj Foundation, to unveil the upgraded technology center featuring 35 new computers, printers, a Promethean board, and smart pens, among other tech gadgets.
The Subraj foundation purchased the equipment it donated for $35,000 and will continue to support the technology center and school located at 57-00 223rd St.
“Technology is not just a need but it’s a facet of every student’s education,” said Subraj, who is also executive director of Zara Realty. “It’s a necessity, so helping to build this lab was one step in helping to support the student’s education Cardozo High School.”
The Subraj Foundation was begun by Subraj’s late father, George Subraj, who immigrated from Guyana in the 1970s and founded Zara Realty in 1982 with his brothers Ken Sobhraj and Jay Sobhraj. The real estate company is now one of the largest providers of affordable housing with over 10,000 residents in Queens and Long Island.
“Dad was a great lover of education and supported the education of everybody around him, and he was self taught, so he was a lifelong learner and just giving back to the community,” said Subraj.
Together, the George Subraj Foundation, in partnership with the Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Foundation and Zara Realty, have donated over 10 computer labs throughout Queens and internationally to Guyana, India, and Africa.
“He always felt that giving back to the community that supported him such as Queens was a necessary thing, and that’s when he started his philanthropic work supporting health initiatives and education initiatives,” said Subraj.
Lakhani Subraj, who has been teaching English at Cardozo for 15 years, and is the wife of Tony Subraj, said the computer lab was in need of renovation due to old dysfunctional printers and broken computers.
“The students love the computers. The monitors are touch screen, which we’ve never had before. When students go in there, there are 34 students in a class and often if four, five, or seven computers are broken, students are pairing up and working on computers together,” said Subraj.
In replacement of a smartboard, the interactive Promethean board is the latest technology that includes smart features, which everyone is still in the process of learning, said Subraj.
Local elected officials thanked the Subraj family for their donation and contribution to the Queens community.
“Technology it’s not a luxury, but it’s a necessity these days and for our students to compete in the global workforce we need to make sure they’re up to date in the latest technology, and this contribution is going to help them compete and move on further in their lives,” said Assemblyman Edward Braunstein.
State Senator Toby Stavisky, chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, noted the importance of giving back to the community.
“It is so important to remember where you came from, you remember your roots because if we don’t remember our mistakes, we’re doomed to repeat them, and this is a great day for the family and we thank you for your contribution,” said Stavisky.
The Subraj Foundation announced it will continue to support the technology center by donating $10,000 worth of iPads.
“There’s just never seems enough that we can do for our students, and without the community partnerships, and partnerships that we have with our elected officials here in Queens, we wouldn’t be able to provide the kind of academic experience for our kids that we are able to,” said Megan Colby, principal of Cardozo High School.