High School Students Enable a Wheelchair User to Mow Again

Written by Dayna C
Last Updated :
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Hey there, fellow lawn lovers! I’ve got a heartwarming tale that’s going to make your day. Picture this: a man who loves mowing his lawn so much he even thought about starting his own lawn-cutting business.

But life had other plans, and a cycling accident left him in a wheelchair. But guess what? Thanks to some tech-savvy high school students, he’s back to doing what he loves.

Meet Rob Piper from Windsor, Ontario. A cycling accident changed his life five years ago, but it didn’t dampen his spirits.

Rob missed mowing his lawn so much that he took to Facebook to express his longing. And that’s when the magic happened.

He was connected with the technology program at St. Anne Catholic High School, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“I’m so excited,” Rob said, his enthusiasm infectious. “The boys and girls did an amazing job on it. Tried it out for a couple rows and … ready to go cut the whole neighborhood.”

Mike Costello, the manufacturing and technology teacher at St. Anne, and his group of students took on the challenge.

They researched ideas online, engineered a couple of designs, and built a few prototypes. There were a few bumps along the way, like finding out that you couldn’t buy a metal-based electric lawnmower.

But they didn’t let that stop them.

“So we had to go back to the plastic … it couldn’t support the wheels and the framework … so we decided to build the frame attached to the wheelchair that would support the lawnmower itself, hold up the lawnmower,” Costello explained.

The result? An electric lawnmower that connects to an assistive device, enabling Rob to mow his lawn while staying in his wheelchair.

Grade 11 student Jake Polewski, one of the young inventors, said designing the machine was tricky, but the sense of accomplishment was worth it. “Seeing him [Rob] be able to have some independence in his life and be able to do something for himself. I’m sure it makes him feel good.”

When Rob first got behind the mower, he was overwhelmed with emotion. “I was crying on the inside but didn’t show it on the outside. I was so happy, so grateful that they’ve done this for me.”

Rob mowing lawn
Credit photo:

So, here’s to Rob, the high school tech whizzes and the joy of mowing a lawn. It’s a reminder that with a little ingenuity and a lot of heart, we can overcome any obstacle.

And as always, keep moving, keep exploring, and keep living life to the fullest!

About Author

Dayna C
Dayna has an incredible passion for helping others and a background as an in-home caregiver for the elderly. She left the field temporarily three years ago to stay at home with her twins, but found that she really missed working with senior citizens. She launched LoAids as a way to help not just her own loved ones and former clients, but ALL seniors live life to the fullest in their golden years.  Follow her on LINKEDIN and TWITTER. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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