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

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read