Everyday Heroes: Students team up to build desk for Saint Clair Area second grader

Nov. 23—Five students from across Schuylkill County made life easier for a second grader at Saint Clair Area Elementary School by building a custom desk.

Adam Green, of Tamaqua Area; Derick Ney, of Pine Grove Area; Jeremiah Barry and Angelo Errichetto, of North Schuylkill, students in the Schuylkill Technology Center- North Campus outdoor power technology program; and Allen Dunbar, Tamaqua Area, from the carpentry program, built the desk for Kash Filiac under the direction of Jason Wright, an outdoor power instructor.

For their efforts, they were named one of the finalists in the Republican Herald's Everyday Heroes award.

"Most of us don't think much about furniture ... unless we use a wheelchair, are in second grade and the furniture doesn't quite 'fit,' " wrote the person who nominated the students. "Not only would most of us not even think to take on a project like this, we wouldn't have the skills to get it done. Three cheers for these handy students."

Kash was appreciative of the work when presented with the desk, which includes the STC logo, in April.

"I love my new desk," he said through a speech device on his iPad. "It makes me happy."

Kash, who is diagnosed with a type of leukodystrophy known as white matter disease, has been using a wheelchair from an early age and is unable to communicate through normal means.

Kacie Fetterolf, Saint Clair Area special education supervisor, had contacted STC about the possibility of creating a larger and sturdier desk to accommodate his Rifton activity chair, which provides versatile and adjustable seating.

She said that STC was "great to work with" and is proud of the students for being able to apply the skills they had been learning.

"They took our idea and made it come to life," Fetterolf said. "Kash uses the desk every day, and will be able to continue to use it for many years."

Wright is proud of his students for their hand in the project.

"They were proud to know that they were able to help another student who ... would not have been able to learn properly without a good desk," he said.

Although the students weren't initially familiar with Kash, they quickly became excited about the project after they found out about his situation, Wright said at the time of the presentation.

"They got to build something to help someone," he said.

Contact the writer: hlee@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6085