Development for the Disabled

Development is a constant factor in the school. Whether it’s in the classroom, hallways, or outside, there is always some small improvement occurring every now and then. Recent and notable improvements are the additions for those with disabilities. 

“The school was constructed in 1960, well before the American Disabilities Act, or any type of act addressing better accommodations for those with disabilities was in place,” said principal Mr. Steve Straessle, “so bringing this 1960 era building into the present was difficult. We started in about 2008 with renovating the bathrooms, adding wheelchair-accessible stalls and sinks and so forth. And then when we did our major renovation, we included everything from lockers that are accessible for those in wheelchairs to braille on our classroom numbers and other signage throughout the building. And, of course, adding the elevator so those who have trouble navigating stairs for any reason can easily access the second floor,” said Mr. Straessle. “That’s just a number of the things that we’ve done other than adding wheelchair access to our bleachers on the field, and designated parking for those with disabilities around campus.”

Since 2008, the school has been adding new accessibility for those with disabilities. Most notably is the elevator, which the class of 1985 donated and dedicated to the memory of their classmate Stephen Oswald, who was wheelchair-bound. Soon after that, the school made it more accessible to all. 

“One of the students, in my first year of teaching, was in a wheelchair,” said Mr. Tom Handloser. “He had both upstairs and downstairs classes. When another teacher and I had to pick him up or bring him upstairs or downstairs, he was always trembling,” said Mr. Handloser. 

Mr. Straessle said, “It wasn’t the perfect scenario, because young men had to wait on their classmates to gather. And unfortunately, sometimes there were accidents. But it was a good scenario in the sense that it relied on the boys, relying on each other to problem-solve, and to get things done the best way possible.”

All in all, are thankful for the work the school does. Doing their best to help around the school is just one of the easy ways for students to give back. “I think everybody should try,” said the words of Stephen Oswald next to the elevator door. “I try to do as much as I can.”

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