A team of eight high school seniors who attend a class at Kent Career Technical Center’s Engineering and Architectural Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, recently completed a redesigned middle school lock, which helps Brin DeVries, a sixth-grade student with cerebral palsy, open her locker more easily and get to class in time.
Michigan Live reports that the team of students took around five months to design a customized lock for Brin’s locker, which includes a a 3D Printer to help the Excel Charter Academy middle school open her locker more efficiently.
Brin, who use a motorized wheelchair to get around, has limited mobility skills, and prior to the new locker design, would fumble with the lock at least three times or more before she could successfully open it. She said her life is a lot easier after the generous high schoolers helped her out. She can now open the lock with just one try.
“It certainly gives me more independence. A simple design on a computer turned into something that could help me. It’s pretty amazing!”
An occupation therapist and a recreational therapist noticed early on that the middle school lockers would pose problems for children with disabilities. Brin’s locker was “tweaked”to help her open it more easily, but the 11-year-old was still having issues with the combination.
That’s when tech instructor Larry Ridley was asked for assistance after one of the therapists attended a Tech Center event. Students started working on Brin’s project shortly after.
Trevor Corrigan of Northview High School, one of the students who helped design the customized lock, stated that he was honored to be a part of something so innovative and helpful.
“I am just extremely thrilled to be a part of a school that is so involved in making its students better, and at the same time trying to make an impact in the community and be a force for good around. We studied Brin and how she moves and how she wanted to naturally open that locker and what would be the best way to implement a design to adhere to that.”
Corrigan said that along with the other students who worked on the project, he took out a back piece of a Hallowell lock and replaced it with a an insert that helps Brin lift the lock magnet up more easily. The project was so successful that it was presented to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. The lock is currently undergoing a patent process, being reviewed for design. Other students that helped on the project include:
- Michael Alberta (Byron Center High School)
- James Warren (Wyoming High School)
- Corey Robinson (Caledonia High School)
- Richard Stewart (Caledonia High School)
- Ryan Bockheim (Kent City High School)
- Richard Brady (Wyoming High School)
- Fahir Sulejmanovic (Wyoming High School)
Dawn DeVries, Brin’s mother, says that new locker is giving her daughter confidence and helping her see that it’s possible to chase after her dreams and succeed. Brin has plans to become an engineer so that she can help out fellow people with disabilities.
“She is starting to think about her future and what she needs to be independent and not always have to ask for help.”