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Teen reaches out with skateboarding

Placer High senior designs skateboard for students with disabilities
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Scotty Dietz is giving skateboarding teenagers a new reputation at Placer High. Dietz, who will be a senior in the fall, designed a skateboard that enables students with disabilities to experience the thrill of his favorite pastime. “I T.A for special ed(ucation)kids and always have my skateboard with me. They are always stoked on it and spinning the wheels,” Dietz said. “My final was to teach them a lesson, so I made one they could ride.” With a little ingenuity, Dietz made some simple changes to one of his long boards. Those little adaptations equated to big strides in making the board rider-friendly for students with special needs. “My dad owns a cabinet shop, so I found an industrial wooden stool and put it upside down on the board,” Dietz said. “It makes it so they can sit on it and has handles to hold on to and makes it so they can’t fall out because there are two walls.” Dietz said that the board was designed for students to ride sitting down and help make the transition to standing if they were able to. There were laughs and smiles all-around when several of the students took the custom-creation for a spin the day of Dietz’s project. He said their teacher Heather Snow even took it for a test run. Dietz said that while he doesn’t plan to get rich from his adapted skateboard, seeing the fun his peers had was well worth the work. He also earned an “A” for his efforts. “They were stoked on it, smiling, laughing and having a good time,” Dietz said. “I thought it was pretty neat. It made me feel good.” While Snow said most of the students weren’t able to talk or write about their experience with the board, she said Dietz’s project gave them an opportunity they never would have had otherwise. Placer metal shop teacher James Anderson noticed Dietz with his board near the metal shop classroom one day. Anderson said Dietz is proof that you can’t judge a book by its cover. “You can see someone and think you know what they are like based on how they look and inside they may looking for ways to help other people. The compassion of it is what stands out to me,” Anderson said. “To see someone who gets joy out of something and looks for ways to share that joy with other people.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.