Lincoln School students take up accessibility project
From left, teacher Elizabeth Smith, Dina Parikh, Magnolia Chesney and Alia Anderson discuss a time line of historical events at Graue Mill in Oak Brook. The class has put the time line together as part of an accessibility project. | Jennifer Schuman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 26, 2012 6:33AM
OAK PARK — A group of Lincoln Elementary School students may know more about the Americans with Disabilities Act than most adults.
Last October, fourth grade students from Kathleen Priceman’s Spanish Immersion class attended a field trip to Graue Mill Museum in DuPage County.
Fourth-grader Alec Cabacungan chose not to attend since portions of the building would be off limits to anyone in a wheelchair. Cabacungan’s classmates were upset their friend couldn’t come along, so they devised a plan.
The class began working with Oak Park architect Mark Klancic and Matt Kuntz, Lincoln’s gifted, talented and differentiation teacher, to design elevator options for the mill.
“The best part is knowing that this project is something that can actually make a difference in real life,” Cabacungan said.
Over the past year, the students created models using Google Sketch-Up to put together different options for the elevator.
“My favorite part of the project has been learning about Google Sketch,” student Anna Gamal said. “It’s so fun.”
“It’s awesome to work on a project with your friends,” student Miguel Schuster said.
They’ve also filmed a three-part play describing their experiences and made a time line of Graue Mill’s important historical events.
“The play was the best part,” student Dina Parikh said.
There is no money for the Graue Mill project, but the students are ready to start fundraising. Now fifth-graders in Elizabeth Smith’s class, they continue to push forward.
“I was immediately on board,” Smith said. “The kids are not willing to give up.”
Priceman encouraged the kids to write a letter to Graue Mill explaining their project. Andrea Hoyt, director of planning and development at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, answered the letter.
Hoyt invited the students to work on the plan to convert the Ben Fuller Farmhouse into an education center. Hoyt and colleagues met with the students last Wednesday to hear about their Graue Mill designs and talk more about the Ben Fuller project.
“We think it’s so great what the students are doing and are very excited to learn more,” Hoyt said.
The students would be involved with various aspects of the project, including the selection of the architect, development of the design, creation of the construction drawings, completion of the bid process and construction.
“It’d be wonderful for the students to see a project from start to finish,” Kuntz said.