JES and LCTC partner to provide push car for student

Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Jemison Elementary School and LeCroy Career Technical Center teamed up to surprise one elementary student with a special gift on April 9.

Jackson is a student at JES who has special needs. Staff use a wagon to transport him from class to class, but Principal Scott Ingram wanted a better option.

Ingram found a 1950s-era fire engine pedal car that he thought could be modified for Jackson. When the owner of the pedal car heard about Jackson, he donated it the school.

“I thought he would love that, but the problem was the seat,” Ingram said. “They (LCTC welding students) did a great job with the seat to make it big enough for him.”

He said other students will also enjoy seeing the vehicle in the hall.

At first, Jackson was quiet looking at the vehicle and all the new faces. Once he was in the car, however, his excitement and pleasure became evident.

Once he had the pedal car, Ingram contacted LeCroy Career Technical Center about having students make the necessary modifications. Students in both the welding and auto collision repair classes were involved in the project.

“We did the fabricating,” welding teacher Daniel Gilliland said. “They did the painting.”

Welding student Gannon Jackson started the project by looking at all of the modifications that would be needed. That was in September.

“We had to take the pedals out of it, and then we made a floor board,” Gannon Jackson said.

She welded each of the pieces created by fellow students Chance Landry and Jacob Easterling in place.

“I have a cousin who is special needs, so it really meant a lot to me to be a part of it,” Gannon Jackson said.

Landry said a straight axle was put in to replace the axle for the pedals. Easterling said a lawnmower handle was attached to allow JES staff to push the vehicle. He said they made the handle a little shorter to be the right height for easy pushing.

Landry said as he knew more about who the car would be going to the more his desire to “get it right” increased.

Easterling said it was one of the more fun projects they have done in class.

Gilliland helped ensure Jackson would be comfortable in the vehicle by getting his measurements.

“We talk all the time about every day you should try to be a better you— a better version of yourself than you were yesterday,” Gilliland said. “Don’t pass an opportunity to help someone … seeing the look on his (Jackson) eyes is worth all the effort.”

Auto Collison repair students changed the color scheme of the car to match the school’s colors.

“Three weeks into it they told me it was going to be for Jackson, and I was like, ‘Oh that’s nice,” Cristopher Flores said. “After that, I put way more effort into it. It was fun doing it.”

He said several shades of blue were considered before a final color. Flores said they wanted a bright blue.

Flores and fellow student Diana Villa sanded the car prior to painting.

Decals with the school’s team logo were added to the wheels.

Villa said she enjoyed painting the car. Villa painted the wheels and the white trim. She said this was her first time working on a project like this.

Flores said it was good to have an opportunity to do something good for the community.

Once the vehicle was completed, students tested how well it would work in a school hallway.