Norwalk High School students use auto shop skills to help physically challenged peers

NORWALK, Calif. (KABC) -- Students at Norwalk High School are applying their auto shop know-how to invent equipment to help their physically challenged peers.

In one example, the students replaced the worn-out plastic wheels of a backpack for Pooja Vinod, who physically cannot carry it.

These auto shop students put their collective brains together to come up with ways to help their physically challenged classmates get around Norwalk High School.

The students are led by teacher Ken Cook. Their inventions for their physically challenged peers include a custom ramp for a wheelchair for a fellow student.

"We're constantly looking for ways to innovate and ways to make things more accessible. By making things more accessible for disabled people it really is a win-win," Cook said.

State Farm recognized the efforts at Norwalk High School and gave the students nearly $100,000 to come up with more ideas.

"These young men and woman designing apparatuses, designing different equipment to help for those with disabilities, that's, I think, what tugged at the heart of the youth advisory board," said Eddie Martinez with State Farm.

Student Jesus Chavez echoed his teacher's win-win sentiment.

"We get to do what we like to do and that's build things, and then it benefits them by making their lives simpler," Chavez said.

A large chunk of the money will be used to renovate the auto shop classroom, so physically challenged students will be able to work on these projects too.
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