Burke County High Construction Students Build Wheelchair Ramp for Injured Classmate

“An injury to one is an injury to all” was an early labor slogan used by organizations to convey the idea that people are stronger when they work in together.

When Burke County High senior Peter Johnson (pictured at right) was injured in a December 2018 car accident, a group of construction students and SkillsUSA participants took that slogan to heart and rallied to help their schoolmate.

The accident left Johnson in a wheelchair and in need of a ramp to access his Waynesboro home. Antonio Young, Burke County High’s construction instructor and SkillsUSA coordinator, visited the house to determine what was needed. He enlisted Stump Knockers, a local tree removal business that Johnson had worked for, to provide a blueprint and some materials.

More than a dozen students from Young’s construction class, plus additional members of Burke County SkillsUSA, rallied to help Johnson, who also was involved in the school’s construction program. Under Young’s supervision, these students helped construct and install the ramp over the course of approximately a month.

Not only did they enjoy a real-world application of their skills, they learned the value of selflessly serving someone in need.

“Our community services program is very natural,” Young said. “We do a lot of activities in partnership with the area community, but we are also always keeping our ears open to find out what is happening with our students.

“Our students at Burke County High School understand community service,” he continued. “While completing community service projects, they develop real-world skills that will help them succeed in high school and beyond. They practice leadership, problem-solving, collaboration with others, time management and communication. Most importantly, they learn that the work they do can make a real impact in the world.”

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