posted Jan 23, 2018, 11:53 AM by AMANDA THATTANAKHAM   [ updated Jan 23, 2018, 12:09 PM ]

Gracie Marvin was born in China and adopted when she was 17 months old by Michael and Julie Marvin. She was born without a right hand but is very independent for a seven-year-old. Her one wish? To be able to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Thanks to a combined effort of Shaw and Don Tyson School of Innovation Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST) students, Gracie’s wish has come true.

“She’s always wanted to ride her bike without training wheels but she couldn’t keep a bike balanced with just one hand,” said her cousin Leah, a fifth grader and member of Shaw’s EAST program. “Her mom told me she would like to have a device that would allow her to ride her bike. Our EAST students talked about it and wanted to help.”

Shaw is in its first year of having an EAST program and the students realized they needed some help. A connection was made with the EAST program at the Don Tyson School of Innovation and the project was underway. Steicy Lopez, a ninth grader at DTSOI, figured a device made on a 3D printer would be just what Gracie needed.

“Steicy is incredible with a 3D printer,” said DTSOI EAST facilitator Wade Ward. “I can’t imagine anyone better in our entire district. She was excited to take on the project.

Lopez added, “There were multiple visits with Gracie. We went to her school and she came to ours. We took measurements and worked on a design that would look good, be comfortable and work.”

Lopez and her peers also wanted to make sure Gracie had a new bike. They used proceeds from their school’s coffee shop to purchase a new bicycle and helmet for Gracie. The Shaw first grader knew she was getting the device because of the fittings she had participated in. The new bike and helmet were a surprise.

“No,” Gracie said when asked if the bike she was receiving was her old bike. “Yes,” she said when asked if she was excited. How often would she ride it? “A lot,” she responded. What did she like most about the device? “It’s comfortable.”

It was surprising she was able to respond at all after her classroom was invaded by television cameras and guests who were there for the presentation.

“This is amazing,” said Gracie’s mom, Julie. “Gracie can do just about anything but she can’t ride a bicycle without training wheels. Now she will be able to because of this device.”

Just to be sure, Gracie made a trial run through the hall of Shaw Elementary. She had to be thrilled to hear her classmates shouting, “Gracie, Gracie, Gracie!”

It was a beautiful collaborative effort between the students at DTSOI and Shaw. As a result, Gracie Marvin will be riding her bicycle unrestricted by training wheels. This is another example why Springdale Public Schools are #THEChoice.