Students build desks for visually impaired children

The 12-by-18 inch desks, painted metallic black, are designed for comfort while students participate in classroom activities. - Photo: Jewel Levy

A group of John Gray High School students has built desks to assist visually impaired young people in government schools to better concentrate on writing and reading.

The desks, painted a metallic black, are designed for comfort while students participate in classroom activities.

The desk can be positioned at different angles as it sits on a tabletop. It also folds and allows for easy carrying and storage while students transition between classes.

Nicholas Oritz, a teacher of visually impaired students in government schools and an avid builder, came up with the idea and design to create the sloping desk to give his students a better chance at learning.

“One of the recommendations for many of the kids I teach with vison impairment is positioning the work in a certain way for easier learning,” Oritz said. At the same time, he said, woodwork students at John Gray got an opportunity to take part in a project to make something for kids who need it.

All 12 desks were built by former Year 11 students at the school and were donated to Lighthouse School, Savannah Primary and various pre-schools.

“The students were very excited about making the desks because they felt it was something that could actually be used,” said JGHS building and technology teacher Clive Cole.

Student Floyd Oneill Watson said it was a project for class and allowed him to gain extra knowledge in woodworking. Watson has no friends or classmates with vision impairment, but said he was happy it would help students in other schools.

“I enjoyed the project because I thought it would give me useful skills for the future. It can also be helpful to other students if they want to acquire a new skill,” said student Easton Grant.

Another student, Samuel Ramos, said it took them half of the school year to complete the project because they had to learn about what they were building, take notes, build, sand and paint it.