Georgia high school robotics team builds ATV for girl with cerebral palsy

Kessley Hales, 6, plays in a new ATV built specifically for her by Etowah High School's robotics team.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Kessley Hales, 6, plays in a new ATV built specifically for her by Etowah High School's robotics team.

A high school robotics team put their minds together to make life a little easier for a 6-year-old Pickens County girl with cerebral palsy.

The group of students at Etowah High School in Cherokee County decided to build an all-terrain vehicle for Kessley Hales, whose wheelchair doesn’t always get her everywhere she wants to go.

"She is the happiest kid around,” Kessley’s mother, Kristi Hales, told Channel 2 Action News. “She brings smiles to everyone. Her community loves her. Her teachers love her. She's precious.”

Kessley was born with cerebral palsy and spends much of her time in a wheelchair, which can get a little lonely, her parents said.

"It's hard. You want to see her up and running and playing with her friends. But she doesn't,” Kristi Hales said.

But that all changed when Etowah’s Electric Eagles robotic team went to work on a contraption they dubbed the “Power Wheels Wild Thing.”

The two-handed ATV for children allows Kessley to motor around places her normal wheelchair can’t take her. The students even modified the device for Kessley, who has better use of her left hand.

“What we really did was give a little girl the ability to play,” Etowah student Gwendolyn Peppers told Channel 2.

The project took the students about two and a half weeks, but it’s already had a major impact on young Kessley’s life, her parents said.

“I don't know that her dad and I have ever been able to just sit in a chair and watch our kids play together,” Kristi Hales said through tears. “That was pretty special.”

Kessley had hip surgery last week and is still a little sore, but her parents say her new vehicle will be ready for her when she recovers in about 12 weeks.

In the meantime, the robotics team hopes to outfit the chair with Bluetooth technology.

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