The sled was built for St. Pierre so he could join his class on a winter hike just outside Nelson. Photo: Tyler Harper

VIDEO: B.C. students build special sled to get classmate into the Christmas spirit

Todd St. Pierre has mobility issues, but the sled helped him go on a class hike

When a class of Grade 6 students came to call the pre-holiday hike Operation Leave No One Behind, it was clear this would be no simple winter walk.

Chris Mieske’s class at Trafalgar Middle School in Nelson includes Todd St. Pierre, who was born with bilateral perisylvian polymicrogyria, a genetic disorder that affects his mobility.

So if they were going to spend a day stomping through snow outside Nelson, they needed a solution for including Todd.

“Because he’s our classmate,” said student Koen de Jong. “Bringing him helps us learn about empathy.”

The answer was a sled, designed and built just for Todd. The students solicited local businesses for supplies and took about three weeks to complete the finished product.

Koen said building the sled meant learning all about Todd’s needs. Pool noodles, for example, were cut and added to the sides of the sled to pad his legs, which tend to lean out.

“When he gets upset or excited he throws his head back, so we needed to put some cushion on his head,” said Koen.

“We had to think about him going to the bathroom, him being able to have fun at the camp when we get there and we eventually came up with the idea to put people in life jackets, hook them up to the sled and pull it along and then have people in the back pushing or act as a break if you’re going downhill.”

Mieske said he wanted his students to learn that even though Todd can’t walk, he is still journeying through school with them.

“My big message to these students is Todd’s going to be walking across the stage at graduation with them in six years and I want them to feel like he’s been part of their education and I want him to feel like he’s been part of the bigger group,” he said.

“Just because he’s got difficulties with moving around and he has difficulties communicating, he’s still one of them and they need to see he is an equal to them in our school.”

When the class travelled to the Nelson Nordic Ski Club’s Clearwater trail on Dec. 19, four students put on snow shoes and attached themselves to the sled before Todd was carefully, and happily, lowered in.

Some classmates cheered, others high-fived Todd, and when it came time to hike all 27 students marched into the woods together without anyone left behind.

Related:

The gift of getting around

Wheelchair accessible van a gift to Nelson family in need

Rosemont Elementary celebrates renewed playground



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Teacher Chris Mieske helps Todd St. Pierre get settled in the sled. Photo: Tyler Harper

St. Pierre’s sled was powered by an eager team of buddies. Photo: Tyler Harper

Trafalgar Middle School’s Todd St. Pierre gets strapped into a special sled built for him by his fellow Grade 6 students for a winter hike. Photo: Tyler Harper

Just Posted

Join the Regional District on Instagram Live

The Regional District of Central Okanagan parks interpretive programs are going online

COVID-19: Diabetes Canada donation bins becoming garbage dumps amid pandemic

Diabetes Canada has asked residents to stop overflowing bins with donations and garbage

Okanagan College students receive emergency funding

Funding is available to domestic and Indigenous students from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training

Lake Country ceases tourism operations for 2020, Okanagan tourism continues to suffer

The District of Lake Country voted to suspend tourism on March 31

COVID-19: City of Kelowna defers property tax penalty, other city charges until September

The city is deferring interest and penalties to September, for those who need it

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

Okanagan College grading system critical despite COVID-19 pandemic

On heels of petition penned by student, VP academic says grading system necessary for accurate assessments

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Spike of visitors to Princeton-area stressing grocery supply chain and healthcare teams

‘We are really not set up to have this many people at this time of year.’ Area H Director Bob Coyne

Summerland to offer mental health webinar

Event will examine ways of coping during COVID-19 pandemic

Van crashes into Kamloops home

Police say the driver went into medical distress before the crash

Most Read