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COLUMBIA - Leaders at Father Tolton Catholic High School said Monday the school's laptop rental program is allowing students to learn in a new way. The school, which opened last fall, rents each student at Father Tolton a laptop on which he or she can view all textbooks, do homework, and check out library e-books.

"Students today are digital natives. They use technology to interact with their world," Principal Kristie Wolfe said. "With textbooks online, it allows students to interact and do their homework the way they are used to."

Though the laptops are their main resource for lectures, hard-copy books are available in each classroom if students prefer to check them out. "Sometimes it's easier to write out our math problems," said sophomore Ryan Hine.

The school also has a library where students can check out paper copies of fiction novels. The non-fiction books, on the other hand, are available via virtual library where an unlimited amount of students can check out a certain book at a time.

"This will be helpful if a teacher assigns a reasearch project on, say, viruses, the students can all check out the two really good, helpful books," said Wolfe.

The school pays for the laptops through an annual technology fee it charges the student's parents. Though the laptops do come with a cost, the students will be able to keep the laptops for only a small price at the end of their four years at Father Tolton.

Johnny Cleek, a sophomore at Father Tolton, transferred into the school at beginning of the spring semester. " We didn't have laptops at my old school," Johnny said. "I think it's fun to have a laptop. It's new technology. It's cool."