PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It was an exciting morning at Central High School as freshman from all over the Phoenix Union High School District get in line for their free phones from Sprint.
The device is free, the service is free, and it's not just for talking with friends.
"I'm going to be able to do my homework better and I won't have to worry about sharing internet because I don't have internet at my help, so this is going to be very helpful and I'm very grateful for that," said Juan Reyes, a freshman at Alhambra High School.
It's all part of Sprint's new $1 million project, a multi-year initiative that will eventually impact a million students. For now, they're giving 180,000 kids in 1,300 schools across the country free phones that have plenty of data so they can even work as WiFi hotspots.
"It was a struggle, I had to borrow my friend's WiFi and sometimes there were some struggles where I couldn't get to her house," said Marisol Acosta, a freshman at Wilson College Prep.
Sprint is hoping to close what they call the "homework gap" that state Rep. Diego Espinoza sees in his District 19.
"One in five families, according to a survey, don't have internet. and if you go into the other areas that don't have resources, it's less than that," he said. "So this is a great opportunity to get our kids connected and give them the opportunity to advance themselves academically."
So, 5,400 students from 17 Phoenix Union High Schools will be able to take home their phones and keep them until they graduate in four years.
It's a gift the district applied for and now it's all coming to fruition.
"We know how important technology is and academics today," Craig Pletenik said. "This is the future and it's really the present and we want our kids to have every advantage that they can and every tool at their disposal."