A Porterville Teen's Dream Comes True

September 15, 2009 1:01:19 AM PDT
A Porterville High School student's dream of playing in the school's marching band has come true, thanks to some other innovative students.There wasn't much more 16-year old Jens Nielsen wanted to do when he got to high school, than play in the marching band. The Porterville High School freshman has cerebral palsy, which left him paralyzed over most of his body except some of his left fingers.

Jens is putting those fingers to work, in a wheelchair which plays the cymbals with the push of a button. Several Porterville teachers and students were determined to invent the instrument to fulfill his dream.

Summit Charter Academy freshmen Nick Garcia and Nathaniel Ahmed were challenged by their robotics teacher, Hoss Mcnutt, to invent the instrument. Nick and Nathaniel made the instrument out of small motorized parts they found in their robotics classroom and a switch from a copier. After several failed attempts, they're ecstatic they finally got it right.

The Rotary and Breakfast Lions Clubs donated money to personalize the wheelchair. Along with his initials, it's got Panther Pride written all over it.

Jens can't wait for the school's first field show on Friday night. He's practicing every day with the drumline, in marching band class and after school rehearsals.

Jens and the Panther Band are also gearing up for one of their biggest shows ever. The band is going to play at Carnegie Hall in New York City next summer.

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