A large project of building a planter for disabled access was an invaluable real life experience for some high school carpentry students.

Soft SkillsThe wheelchair accessible planter was a project that Hahnville High School teacher Henry Cologne accepted readily, and his students were enthusiastic about the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I had no idea it was going to be as big or as important as it was,” said student Drake Badeaux. “Mr. Cologne first gave us the project and we just built it the best way we could … like any other project. It wasn’t until the students came in and thanked us that I realized that this was way more important than just a regular planter. It was way more emotional than I thought it would be. To build something like this for students with disabilities was just unexplainable. The teachers and the students were so thankful. To see these students’ faces the first time we showed them it was, no doubt, the best feeling I’ve ever felt.”

The curriculum in Louisiana for children with disabilities now includes gardening. Donna Broussard, who teaches students with significant disabilities knew that there needed to be some accommodations, and enlisted Cologne’s help.

“We have a beautiful greenhouse, but we can’t get the wheelchairs in it,” she said. “Even with making a lip for the wheelchairs, they can’t move them in there and they don’t have the range in their arms to make the moves.”

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