Former City Councilor Mike Luce donated to the Shakopee Intro to Engineering class after reading about Vianny, a second grade special education student who can’t communicate verbally or stand up on her own. The class gave students the opportunity to make projects specific to the needs of students like Vianny. This particular project was a toy made by high school student Hunter Gromniesch, along with two of his group members.

Former Shakopee City Council member Mike Luce came forward at the Feb. 10 Shakopee School Board meeting and presented $500 toward the Shakopee High School Intro to Engineering class, which connects engineering students to special needs students who need help solving practical physical problems they face every day.

“We’ve got the best and the brightest students,” Luce said. “If you give them the funding they deserve, it can make such a difference.”

Luce said he first found out about the class after he read a January story about the class in the Valley News. He brought a copy of the newspaper to the school board meeting and pointed to the photo of a special needs student playing with a toy an engineering student created for her.

“To me, this little girl… this looks better than Christmas for her,” Luce said. “And it’s the relationship between the students and the special needs students.”

Luce said he is currently working with the Shakopee Education Endowment fund to raise more money for the engineering class.

“I think this is a very noble gesture on your part,” board member Paul Christiansen said. “Speaking as an autism dad, you’re preaching to the choir when it comes to our mainstream students interacting with our special needs kids.”

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.


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