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Students Create a Wheelchair Accessible Picnic Table

Posted by ROLAND REZNIK on April 04, 2016. 0 Comments

Joseph Ramirez and Hector Arellano are being praised for their good deed for a wheelchair user located at a school 26 miles away. Ramirez and Arellano are juniors at Clifton Career Development High School and heard of an obstacle a fellow student was having on a daily basis. Alan Alfaro who has cerebral palsy attends Austin High School. During lunch break, Alfaro is not able to join other students or eat outside because his wheelchair is not able to fit under the picnic tables.

Ramirez and Arellano decided to make a difference and create a wheelchair accessible picnic table for Alfaro. They picked up a picnic table located at Austin High, where Alfaro attends school and put their creative skills to work. The students removed one of the picnic table benches and used the pieces to raise the table so wheelchair users like Alfaro have the opportunity to spend time with their friends outdoors on campus.

Alfaro has a caretaker on campus that assists him when needed. According to caretaker Dean Metz, “The fact that Alfaro now has a place that’s wheelchair accessible and has room for his food and iPad, makes him feel like part of the community on campus.”

Joseph Ramirez stated: “I’m excited to help out. It’s going to help other kids who use wheelchairs so they can hang outside with friends, do their homework, eat lunch and be with all of the other students.” Alfaro is appreciative of his new friends and expressed his excitement to be able to eat with other students at the new picnic table.

Surprisingly, the three students have never met. Chances are they will form a lasting friendship and may meet in the future. Able-bodied students rarely consider the obstacles their fellow students who are wheelchair users have to endure on campus. Something as simple as a wheelchair accessible picnic table on campus can make a difference to a wheelchair user.

If you think about it deeply, you will understand the isolation this one issue causes a student. The picnic table area at Austin High School is where students eat with their friends, socialize, use their iPads, study, do homework and more. If any student is isolated from that area they are missing out on a large part of their high school experience.

This isolation can cause a student to become depressed, grades can fall and motivation to attend school can lessen. It is important for all schools located throughout the United States to do everything they can to make the campus wheelchair accessible. Essential areas like doorways, hallways and restrooms are generally wheelchair accessible. However, schools are encouraged to take things a bit further and consider the socialization aspect of a student’s life.

The fact that wheelchair users attend classes and make friends with able-bodied students should highlight the needs of wheelchair accessible areas. As with Alfaro, his able-bodied friends met for lunch at the picnic tables on campus and he was isolated, forcing him to eat alone indoors. Now, due to the innovative idea of two students, Alfaro can join his friends which overall improves his high school experience.


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