PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From starting up and operating construction equipment, to digging and pouring concrete to install a new bench, one group of students is learning a lot.
The teens from Mon Valley School in Pleasant Hills have been working to build a new playground since the beginning of the school year.
“It’s very complicated, but then it gets easier and easier and you learn how to do new things,” said 19-year-old Johnathon Kiratzis.
The students all battle with some type of disability, some severe.
Kiratzis is autistic and he’s helped put the playground together piece by piece.
“It’s coming along and we come out here every day and work real hard,” he said.
Soon the entire school will be able to take advantage of the playground — there are even swings designed for students in wheelchairs.
For the kids working on the project, the experience has been fun and more importantly, valuable.
“It helps like if in the future, in case I get a job like this in the future, it’s really good,” Kiratzis said.
“We’re actually having a lot of fun,” said student Dylan Allen. “We’re actually working as a team, we’re working as partners and groups and we’re getting along. Everyone is working hard here, so we are very happy here.”
The teachers are happy too. They say it’s rewarding to watch the students succeed on such a big job.
“It’s amazing, it’s such a good feeling that, a lot of people don’t, they don’t give them a chance and here they get a chance, so it’s nice to give them a hands-on experience,” said Technology Education Teacher Ben Latini.
The students have just a little more work to do, and then they’ll cut off the caution tape and officially open the playground in the beginning of May.