Tryon Palace and the North Carolina History Center has been chosen as one of the many sites across the state to provide free internet access to the community. A new high-speed WiFi device was recently installed at Tryon Palace’s Eden Street Parking Lot as part of the state’s NC Student Connect Park and Learn program to help our neighbors and local students connect to the internet. The initiative is a partnership between the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and Gov. Cooper’s Hometown Strong program designed to address internet connectivity gaps in rural N.C. The project is expected to reach as many as 82 state-owned sites and approximately 335 community sites when complete, including state parks and historic sites, as well as local libraries. “When school resumed in August, school superintendents around the state estimated that at least 100,000 students still lacked a reliable internet connection at home,” said Mary Penny Kelley, Executive Director of Hometown Strong. “Based on county visits we made pre-pandemic, we knew we had to connect to more rural students to succeed at remote learning in these challenging times, and this initiative is a great example of folks working together toward that goal.” Bill McCrea, Executive Director of Tryon Palace, stated, “We are very proud to have been chosen as one of the state’s Park and Learn sites to offer WiFi to students in Craven County. To promote education and learning is foremost to our mission, and we are excited that we can offer our community this service. WiFi access is integral to remote learning, and we want every student to have the opportunity to succeed. It’s a wonderful initiative by the state to make WiFi inclusive for all students and residents.” To connect to the Wi-Fi at the Eden Street Parking Lot, located on the westside of Tryon Palace, use NCGuestWifi and follow the prompts. For more information about NC Student Connect and to find a map of WiFi locations, visit http://hometownstrong.nc.gov/tools/remote-learning. The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ Park and Learn project is part of a broader effort called NC Student Connect and aims to provide free high-speed WiFi access to students in rural communities by leveraging resources at state parks, historic sites and other community hubs, according to the department.