School builds ramp for student in wheelchair

Posted at 4:05 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 17:11:48-05

Not many people would get excited over a ramp, but for one family in Troy, it was all they could've asked for.

Plank by plank, Christmas was made for Sylvia Salazar and her son, Eric Gonzales.

"Miracles do happen, you know, we haven't had a ramp in forever," said Salazar. 

Eric has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. His bus driver saw Sylvia's daily struggle as she bumped her son up and down the steps of their home every morning and afternoon. Eric is over 100 pounds with the weight of his wheelchair. 

"It's not nothing little, it's huge," Salazar said. "It's a huge impact for us."

The bus driver told Michelle Jolliff, the principal at Raymond Mays Middle School, that something needed to change. Within one week, it did.

"I'm telling you, people jumped in! They were so excited to help, so it wasn't a big deal," Jolliff said.

Jolliff said a handful of adults and eight students spent their first day of winter break building the ramp. The Junior Beta Club at RMMS raised the money for the project and it was organized by John Branton, the building trades teacher.

"We've done several other community service projects this year and this was just one more that we thought we could do and we thought it would be perfect timing right before Christmas," Jolliff said.

Jolliff hopes this gesture serves as a lesson on the importance of community for students. It was also the perfect present for a family that needed a helping hand.

"When the school called us and told us, you know, what they wanted to do for us, it was just beyond exciting," Salazar said. "This is by far the best Christmas ever."

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