Engineering Students Build Go-Kart for Limited Mobility Child
Christmas came early this year for seven-year old Harper Lindsey, daughter of High School Academic Dean Kevin Lindsey and his wife, Brittany, OCS college counselor. Harper, who was born with spina bifida, received a go-kart built by the OCS engineering students to help her get around while she awaited surgery in mid-December.
When Harper was born, the Lindseys were told she would not be able to have much use of her legs, among other physical and internal challenges. Her condition is challenging, but Harper’s determined spirit and joyful attitude has helped her overcome much during her seven years!
This past surgery was her fifth major surgery and the entire process was to straighten her right foot in order to improve her gait, with the goal of increasing her independence and mobility. She wore a cast in preparation which further hindered her limited mobility. That’s when the engineering students jumped in and built her a go-kart in the school’s new IDEA Lab.
“What I am really trying to show here is that engineering can impact lives, too. This is just the tip of the iceberg. My goal next year is that we will be doing almost exclusively these types of project for people in the community. We are going to get the word out that Oaks Christian cares about our community,“ said Greg Gillis-Smith, OCS engineering and IDEA Lab teacher.
While the IDEA Lab is a stunning example of modern technology, the foundation of its inception has always been to connect the OCS mission to classroom learning and practice. Associate Head of School for Academics Matt Northrop has envisioned the lab as a cross-discipline collaborative experience where students can, for example, build prosthetic limbs that will be delivered to a patient in a village that OCS students visit on a missions trip, and the film class would create a documentary of the process.
Harper's go-kart is an example of the process: it was built by engineering students who had to figure out how to create hand controls due to Harper’s limited foot function, the art students painted her turtles on the side for her, and the broadcast journalism students filmed it and told the story on their news channel.
“The kids at the school I work at are so cool because they do stuff like this. Not only do they do it, but they do it well,” said Kevin Lindsey.