Inclusivity is one of Penn High School’s strongest values and is part of what makes the high school so community-oriented. From Unified Track to amazing special education programs, Penn is always looking for ways to promote a welcoming environment for its students. In Penn’s most recent project, speech pathologist, Naomi Tankersley, and members of the Robotics team have collaborated in broadening Penn’s communication system for special education students.

Anaiyah Davis, a 10th grade student at Penn High School, faces mobility issues as well as blindness and hearing challenges. This means that communication is a challenge for her. With the goal of giving Nya a voice, Tankersley reached out to Penn’s Robotics Team who helped 3-D print special symbols for Nya to use. These symbols allow her to communicate more easily with her teachers, aides, and classmates. Several of her exceptional education classmates also lent a helping hand in honor of their friend, including Corey Walter and Russell Leazenby.

The final design consisted of a wooden board embellished with pegs on which symbols can be attached. Each symbol was made with a different texture, and designed for easy access. The symbols included an X for no, an O for yes, a lightning bolt for later, and a music note to symbolize one of Anaiyah’s favorite hobbies.

When asked how this device has helped Nya in the classroom, Melody Kruger, one of Nya’s exceptional education teachers, responded, “It is helping her have a voice. She is nonverbal and this is just a start for her that we hope to build on.”

Kruger further noted that Robotics Student Riley Bice, “jumped right in and made us not one but three sets which allowed us to send one home for her mom to use with her as well.”

Thanks to the tireless and extremely meaningful work of these thoughtful students, Nya is now a Kingsman with a voice.