Maize engineering students give girl mobility, change life

MAIZE, Kan. Carrie Harris is unable to walk, but her contagious smile and laughter can move a crowd. Carrie suffers from cerebral palsy that limits her mobility, but not her spirit.

"One of the happiest little girls I've ever met," her father, Michael Harris says, describing his daughter. "...She loves to go out in the neighborhood to play with other kids. Typically the other kids or (her) sister has to push her around in her chair."

But engineering students at Maize Career Academy want to give Carrie a bigger push. For their senior project, the group raised about $1,200 to build Carrie a motorized wheelchair.

"I couldn't be prouder of these kids," their teacher, Mike Tinch says.

He says he was approached with an idea to start a project for his engineering students that mirrors students at Wichita State University.

"This was that chance for them to actually help somebody," Tinch says. "So it was very rewarding for me to watch what the kids did, and today, to see Carrie's reaction to this was neat.

Carrie was all smiles when she got her chance to give the chair a test drive.

"It does mean a lot for her to now potentially take herself where she wants to go," Michael Harris says.