GRAVESEND - Special needs students at a Gravesend school are building a better future with hammers, nails and a little elbow grease.
For years, the library at P.S. 721K was more like a glorified stockroom where faculty met occasionally. That changed when Principal Barbara Tremblay decided that students could help reinvigorate and decorate a new library, with some help and supervision from adults.
Most of the students have developmental or physical disabilities, but what they've done with this library is nothing short of remarkable, officials say. The students, who are in their teens and older, have helped to make furniture.
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"Everything here should be by children," says Tremblay. "I'm very happy and blessed to have smart teachers and therapists that were willing to take the course, then the kids learned it, so they run everything."
School officials say the furniture is built to last, and so are the skills that the children learn.
"Knowing how to talk in a work place, coming into a room on time, being able to ask for assistance when you need help," says shop teacher Charles Brown. "A lot of these basic skills where they're able to use it now will able to transfer to their next work site outside the building once they graduate."
The students couldn't be more proud of their accomplishments.