High School Building Class Makes Great Gift for Boy in a Wheelchair

While the arts and many practical skills are being removed from the curriculum at some schools, classroom shopping remains a highly regarded course at Westerly High School in Westerly, Rhode Island.

For more than 20 years, teacher Dan McKena has found ways for her students’ construction projects to have an immediate impact on the real world.

“The joke is that we built every picnic table, the lifeguard stand is in Westerly town,” says McKena. Fox News. “It’s just something we usually do quietly.”

The projects familiarize students with “fundamental engineering,” and as an added bonus, “not only do they learn how to use tools and equipment, they learn how to be part of the community.” their copper,” McKena said.

During a meeting with student Mason Heald to map out a plan for his senior project, McKena received an email from a local dad.


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The father, Tim Killam, was directed to McKena by a guidance counselor. Killam had a very special request, and McKena knew it would be perfect for Heald’s project.

“I looked at him,” McKena recalls. “I said, ‘You’re designing a bus stop.’

Killam has a 5-year-old son named Ryder, who was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. Of course, the weather in the West is not always nice, and the days get colder, Killam has to set up a makeshift bus stop for his son to try to keep him from the cold and damp.

Back in September, Killam posted on Facebook problem details.

“Ryder is starting Kindergarten next week, and over a year ago we installed a concrete walkway to make it easy to walk from his wheelchair ramp to get in the car. bus,” wrote Killam.

“He has finally returned to school in person, and as we head into the fall and winter, we hope to find someone who might have a hut at the bus stop that they no longer have. use and want to find a home.

“Trying to find a way to keep Ryder out of the elements while waiting for the bus because the house is far from the road. Anyone with any leads please send a message! Thank you!”

Weeks passed, and no help came.

“Still no luck finding a bus stop hut for Ryder, put this makeshift shelter up,” Killam wrote in a blog post. update, which shows Ryder waving from his “bus stop” made from a large patio umbrella attached to a fence post.


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But as soon as McKena and Heald received the request, they began planning.

It took Heald and 14 others pupil a month to complete the project, working quickly as the weather slowly turned colder. They must consider the legal requirements and the space needed to accommodate Ryder, his wheelchair, and a parent.

Based on WJAR-TV, Home Depot donated $300 worth of materials to the project, and Killams covered the rest.

Ryan Perrin, a Westerly High School alum who now runs a landscaping business, volunteered to move the bus stop to its new residence.

When it was revealed, Killam was “blown away.” He said the design made it “perfect for loading and unloading on the bus”.

It’s a charming barn, with fireplaces for the winter – and some kindred spirit also donated a heating blanket to give Ryder an extra layer of protection from the elements.

Finally, a sign is pasted at the top that says “Ryder’s Bus Stop”.

“The size is perfect and because of it [compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act], we could be inside with him,” Killam said. “Ryder can be nervous, so having one of us with him is very important.”

Ryder thinks the build is pretty sweet, too.

“He loved it, he really got us here after school and hanging out,” Killam said.

“Community, they are amazing, they have given Ryder a few times. It’s not real how people come together to make things work for everyone. “

Amanda holds a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she began to write full-time and is particularly interested in topics related to animals.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. A graduate of California State Polytechnic University with a Master’s degree in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis on metacognitive development and skill transfer between reading and writing in freshmen.
She has many hobbies that keep her busy, including trying new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing absurd topics, reading, drawing, people watching, curriculum development and write biography. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she has teal hair.
With her book on effective communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating several children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Spoken language

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Professional topics

Faith, Animals, Cooking

https://www.westernjournal.com/high-school-construction-class-builds-amazing-gift-wheelchair-bound-boy/ High School Building Class Makes Great Gift for Boy in a Wheelchair

Huynh Nguyen

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