Class project makes life easier for CMS student

Columbia High School construction management class members recently built a specialized sensory canopy for Columbia Middle School student Nicholas Eynon. Pictured, from left, are Nicholas Eynon, Patrick McDermott, Zach Mathews and Jordan Jatho. (Evan Binns photo)

A Columbia High School construction class made the TV news over the weekend for its efforts in building a specialized bed for a young Columbia student who has cerebral palsy.

Earlier this school year, the three CHS students – Jordan Jatho, Patrick McDermott and Zach Mathews – wrapped up construction of a custom sensory canopy for Columbia Middle School student Nicholas Eynon, who is an 11-year-old with special education needs.

The plan to build the canopy was broached by one of Eynon’s caretakers, Columbia school nurse Lisa Schmitt, along with special education teacher Cindy Groce. Meanwhile, the muscle work on the project was contributed by the three high schoolers along with the rest of the construction management class at CHS.

Tom Detmer and Ryan Hampton teach the class.

The class project was featured on KMOV over the weekend.
Despite some logistical problems, the canopy, which is made from PVC pipe donated by Jatho Plumbing in Millstadt, was finished in about two weeks, the CHS students said.

“No matter what, we knew we were going to get it done,” Mathews said.

The canopy has a multitude of visual stimuli for Eynon, who also has been diagnosed with cortical vision impairment, a neurological disorder resulting from brain damage.

Groce and Schmitt said that within days of being underneath the new canopy, Eynon was “noticeably more active.”

“During the first few days, his arms went up reaching for the (mobiles) in the canopy,” Groce said.

Jatho, who was the “self-appointed” leader of the project, he said he and his fellow CHS construction classmates were “surprised that they saw so much improvement that soon.”

As for Nicholas and CMS, both are looking forward to the addition of another specialized canopy that will accommodate Nicholas’ motorized chair, which Detmer’s class also has plans to build.

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