Ark City students use cutting-edge tech to make positive change

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Ark City High School students are using industry-standard tech to help improve accessibility requirements, according to a news release from USD 470 this week.

During a recent civil rights audit, administration learned that some of the school’s trophy cases could be improved to better meet accessibility requirements. That’s when the high school’s career and technical education coordinator, Michael Brooks, approached agriculture education teacher Josie Messenger about a special project.

“We had a problem and I thought it was a great opportunity for our students to be involved in the solution,” Brooks said. “Our students are wonderful and always willing to accept a challenge.”

Together, they determined the addition of a decorative metal piece below each side of the trophy case would help make it more accessible while also giving the students a chance to hone their skills. A couple of students took initiative to begin designing prototypes.

ACHS Ag Teacher Josie Messenger watches as Everett Green and Levi Uden check to see if their prototype will work.

“Levi Uden and Everett Green are two of the students who have really shown an interest in the plasma table,” Messenger said. “They’re both ag-ed students who are also in Mr. Buckbee’s Project Lead the Way engineering pathway – we see a lot of crossover between our programs.”

Messenger said the school is fortunate to have a plasma table like what is actually used within the industry.

“Our students are learning the plasma cutter program as well as the design software they may actually use in their careers,” she said. “They’re learning how to make it run smoothly and are able to help troubleshoot problems as they arise. Members of our tech and maintenance teams have helped a lot, too.”

In addition to helping with this particular project, students have created a number of other items including metal signs, ornaments, FFA awards, and license plates. They also demonstrate the machine to young students at the annual Little Aggies Day.

“It’s been nice to see how far they’ve come; I think there’s a real sense of pride because they are able to produce items that are quality and that people will enjoy,” Messenger said. “For our students to be using their skills to make a difference for our school and community is even more exciting.”

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