Olathe Students' Design Aids Shawnee Mission Teacher

April 18, 2017 ~ A group of students and a teacher, coming from from two different school districts, are working together for one great cause. Olathe East High School students Isaac Taylor, Matt Reichmuth, Cameron Wasinger, Holden Hartley and Tanner Williams created a portable wheelchair desk and cart designed to specifically meet the needs of a high school teacher with multiple sclerosis.

Rebecca Shultz, teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest, often travels to multiple classrooms throughout the day. Students worked with Shultz to make sure the portable desk met her needs while enabling her to travel independently, without help, while storing heavy books and classroom materials. The desk also has a battery pack to power her laptop throughout the day. The students and teacher were both pushing each other to reach the best solution.

"We're thrilled with the work of our students," Design Academy sponsor Sheri Gillett said. "We hope this desk/cart is life changing."

The students are enrolled in the Design Academy located at Olathe East. Their design took fourth place nationwide in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge. In early April, the students traveled to Washington, D.C. for the national competition.

"I was so proud the boys placed fourth in the nation," Gillett said. "They designed above just a mechanical solution and designed a lifestyle solution for Rebecca. Their presentation at the event was flawless and smooth."

Team B.O.S. (Best Overall Solutions) traveled to Washington, D.C. in early April to be recognized in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge. Their portable wheelchair desk and cart was designed to help a teacher with multiple sclerosis. Team members are, from left, Holden Hartley, Cameron Wasinger, Isaac Taylor, Matt Reichmuth and Tanner Williams. Design students with trophy
Design Academy sponsor Sheri Gillett and the B.O.S. team presented at a March meeting of the district advisory council for 21st Century Academies. Design students make presentation

Rebecca Shultz, a teacher at Shawnee Mission Northwest who has multiple sclerosis, was the inspiration for the portable wheelchair desk and cart designed by Olathe East students.

Submitted photos
Teacher uses newly designed portable wheelchair desk