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School puts skills to good use for others

BEACH WHEELCHAIR: Student Greg Chapman and teacher Nathan Halford with a new wheelchair for use on the beach. BELOW: Matt Small and Jake Walton with a desk.
BEACH WHEELCHAIR: Student Greg Chapman and teacher Nathan Halford with a new wheelchair for use on the beach. BELOW: Matt Small and Jake Walton with a desk.

WHEN looking for innovative and practical projects in their final year, Bundaberg North State High School's year 12 Tech Studies students went beyond the classroom to Bundaberg Special School to find their inspiration.   

The students sought out the school after considering the challenges that are associated when living with a disability and wanted to see if they could be of any assistance.   

Reaching out to the school, they were welcomed with open arms.   

The varying range of disabilities and the individuality of each student makes purchasing the same store stocked furniture, that other schools buy, impossible.    Upon their visit to the special school, the boys not only identified the need for special equipment but also learnt that the school was having to hire furniture they did have at great expense. 

  "We wanted to create equipment that they could use and was cost effective." tech studies teacher Nathan Halford said.   

Jake Walton and Matthew Small created an adjustable desk and chair for the school.   

Jake said the idea for his chair was the combination of two different pieces.  

"I saw a chair with a stopper at the front and another with adjustable height, so I put the two together," Jake said.     Matthew's desk has both height adjustability and tilting capabilities for the desktop.   

Gregory Chapman, built a beach wheelchair for the school with wheels wide enough to allow students beach access.    The giant wheelchair also enables the students to steer and has a handle for teachers to push them.   

Gregory said the idea was generated by the principal as standardised wheelchairs are unable to handle sandy conditions.   

The Bundaberg Special School conducts a paddock to plate type program, whereby they grow, harvest and eat their own food.    Due to the range in disabilities, the students could not sit together and enjoy their meal.   

Wade Shinners opted to rectify this with a table that could be adjusted in certain areas enabling students to gain a social experience previously unattainable to them.   

The tech students spent 10 weeks on their projects.   

"The first five weeks were spent planning, researching specifications and ergonomics of the furniture," Mr Halford said.   

"It was a pleasure to help and knowing that we could help people, other than ourselves, was really special," Matthew said.    The equipment will be given to the Bundaberg Special School at the start of next term.   

Topics:  bundaberg, high, north, school, state



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