Mice, bugs, 'Amos 'n' Andy': Cape Elizabeth teen teaches computer skills to Scarborough seniors

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SCARBOROUGH — While some of his friends were on the beach or scooping ice cream for the summer, 17-year-old Alex Kouros spent his summer teaching residents of Scarborough Terrace how to use a computer.

“It’s been pretty fun,” Kouros said. “A lot more fun than I expected.”

Kouros, who enters his senior year at Cape Elizabeth High School this fall, is interested in majoring in sound engineering or computer science in college. Kouros’ teachers recommended him for the Department of Labor Bureau of Vocational Services program that helps people find work in their chosen field.

“This placement will help him figure out if the career path he’s chosen is a good match,” Resource Coordinator Terry Smith said. 

For the residents of Scarborough Terrace, there’s no question Kouros is headed down the right path. 

“Google is the home page,” Kouros told residents Ruth Ehrhard and Elizabeth Cary during one of his tutoring sessions. “A home page is basically the first page you go to.”

He paused, then, sensing some confusion, continued: “A page is what you see on the screen. It’s like a page of a book, except on a screen.”

Ehrhard and Cary decided they wanted to shop for new sofas. Kouros showed them customer reviews and how to find a good deal. Then they watched “Amos ‘n’ Andy” clips on YouTube.

In addition to helping residents in small groups or one-on-one sessions, Kouros created an instruction book for residents who want to learn the basics of using a computer. The book includes screen shots with instructions and definitions of the different items that pop up when doing a Google search or sending an e-mail.

“They’re really happy once they learn to use the computer,” Kouros said. “The hardest thing for them seems to be moving the mouse. Sometimes they accidentally click on stuff. I tell them it’s like riding a bike: once you learn, you don’t forget.”

Resident Kay Getty has been taking computer lessons from Kouros for six weeks. She said she often researches information for her Bible study group and reads a blog that she enjoys.

She’s become so proficient with the computer, her family is replacing the old computer in her room with a lighter netbook she can carry around.

“There’s a flea or a bug or something in my old computer,” she said.

Kouros smiled and corrected her.

“You mean a virus,” he said.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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Alex Kouros, 17, of Cape Elizabeth, teaches Ruth Ehrhart how to use Google to search for new sofas for sale on the Internet. Kouros spent six weeks this summer giving computer lessons to Scarborough Terrace residents as part of a Department of Labor Bureau of Vocational Services program.