“I went here (Sparks High) for four years and never had a problem,” Faeth said on Wednesday. “The kids were always good and helpful whenever I needed it. There was never a concern about it.”
Three or four students were required to carry him and his wheelchair up and down two flights of stairs, Faeth explained. He believes Sparks High students, given the chance, would still do the same for a fellow student. As he was carried countless times up and down the stairs, Faeth said there was never a mishap but he believes that current school liability restrictions would probably prevent such acts of kindness.
Faeth and his wife, Carole, were at Sparks High to attend Wednesday’s meeting of the Sparks Advisory Committee for the Disabled. As members of the committee for more than 20 years, the couple said the meetings have been time well spent, resulting in significant improvements in disabled access at Sparks schools and businesses. Now, there are wheelchair access ramps at Sparks High whereas there were none when Faeth attended the school in the early 1960s.
“The whole community is more aware and accommodating,” Faeth said.
He attributed improvements to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations, greater visibility of disabled citizens in the community and the work of his Sparks committee.
After graduating from Sparks High in 1962, Faeth studied business for two years at the University of Nevada, Reno. Like his friends and acquaintances at Sparks High, UNR students didn’t hesitate to assist to help.
“At that time, UNR had no ramps, no access,” Faeth said. “When I needed help, the students helped me.”
Funding is available for two new elevators expected to be installed by next summer and provide disabled access to 20 second-floor Sparks High classrooms, said Joe Gabica at Wednesday’s meeting. Gabica is director of planning for the Washoe County School District.
“Elevators are costly. We’ll have to spend some real dollars,” Gabica said.