Mattituck School Notes: Technology students design wheelchair devices

11/23/2011 12:14 PM |

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Mattituck High School student Matt Wilton operates a head-controlled wheelchair, which he and fellow student Ryan Dabrowski designed in Mark Mincieli’s ‘World of Technology’ class.

High school technology teacher Mark Mincieli’s World of Technology class has been designing devices that allow wheelchair users to control their chairs by using different parts of their bodies.

At Thursday’s meeting, two teams from the class presented their designs. A design by Nick Noormae and Lucas Morse controlled the chair using the motion of the rider’s knees from left to right. In another design, by Ryan Dabrowski and Matt Wilton, control came from the motion of the rider’s head.

“I’m just blown away. I’m flabbergasted, amazed,” said school board President Jerry Diffley.

“We can only do this kind of stuff because of the kinds of kids we have,” said Mr. Mincieli. “I’ve been proven wrong too many times when I say these things won’t work.”


Fourth-graders at Cutchogue East have been working on a project to find out why their school library is named the William P. Ruland Library. As part of their research, they interviewed Mr. Ruland, a former longtime school board president who now serves on the Town Board.

Fourth-grader Jillian Orr told the school board Thursday night that the students learned that Mr. Ruland had never expected anything to be named after him, but his colleagues at the school named the library after him when he left the Board of Education after helping to oversee the expansion of Cutchogue East.

“All of his colleagues really liked him,” Jillian said, “and when he was leaving the School Board they wanted something to remember him by.”


Member Douglas Cooper, the school board’s liaison on buildings and grounds, reported that workers recently noticed some rotten wood at the base of the pillars at the entrance to Mattituck High School and said the district may need to replace them.

Board members said that the load-bearing columns have stood at the entrance to the school for about 40 years.

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