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High School Construction Class Builds Amazing Gift for Wheelchair-Bound Boy




Although art and many practical skills are eliminated from the curriculum in some schools, the in -store class is a well -respected course at Westerly High School in Westerly, Rhode Island.

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

“The joke was we made every picnic table, lifeguard stand located in the town of Westerly,” McKena said. Fox News. “It’s something we’re doing pretty quietly.”

The projects help familiarize students with “basic building techniques,” and as an added bonus, “not only do they learn to use tools and equipment, they also learn how to be part of their community, “said McKena.

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


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The father, Tim Killam, was taught 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 recalled. “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 was not always good in the West, and as the days got colder, Killam had to make a temporary bus stop for his son to try to keep him away from the cold and wet.

In September, Killam posted on Facebook detailing the issue.

“Ryder will start Kindergarten next week, and over a year ago before covid we had a concrete walkway installed to allow easy travel from his wheelchair ramp to the road to board the bus,” he said. written by Killam.

“He was finally going back to school in person, and when we arrived in the fall and winter, we hoped to find someone who might have a bus stop that they no longer used and wanted to find a place to live.

“Trying to find a way to avoid Ryder in the elements while waiting for the bus because the house is far from the road. Anyone with any leads please send a message! Thanks! “

Weeks passed, no help came.

“Still no luck finding a bus stop hut for Ryder, put the temporary shelter in for now,” Killam wrote in a update, showing Ryder waving from his “bus stop” made of a large patio umbrella attached to a fence post.


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But once McKena and Heald got the request, they moved on to planning.

It took Heald and 14 others students a month to finish the project, working quickly as the weather cools. They had to consider legal requirements and the space needed to accommodate Ryder, his wheelchair and a parent.

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

Ryan Perrin, a former Westerly High School student who now runs a landscaping business, volunteered to deliver the bus stop to its new home.

When it was revealed, Killam was “blown away by the wind.” He said the design made “loading and unloading the bus flawless.”

It was a charming shed, featuring a heat lamp for the winter – and some kind souls also provided a heated blanket to give Ryder another layer of protection from the elements.

As a final touch, there is a sign posted above that says “Ryder’s Bus Stop.”

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

Ryder thinks the build is pretty sweet too.

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

“The community, they’re incredible, they’ve come forward a few times for Ryder. It’s unrealistic how everyone comes together to do everything for everyone.”

This article originally appeared on The Western Journal.

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