For months, many South Hill residents have watched in eager anticipation as renovations have been underway at Ferris High School. But, perhaps no one has watched more closely than Ferris senior Ryan Hawley. He's been watching out the classroom windows every day and even documenting the progress for his senior project. Friday, he got to see all that hard work up close and personal.
Ryan is in the developmentally delayed class at Ferris, but don't second guess what he's able to do. His instructional assistant Renee Haynes says Ryan is extremely mechanical and can put together your vacuum if you needed him to. He also loves videotaping the world around him. Lucky for him, plenty has gone on just outside the school walls since school began last fall, as Ferris undergoes extensive remodeling. He turned his passion for the project into his own project, the senior project necessary for graduation.
Of all the work going on outside, Ryan has been most fascinated with the massive crane that dominates the landscape on the east side of the building. Over the months of work, he and crane operator Wally Forbush have developed a friendship of sorts, though they had never met. The two waved to each other and even corresponded via email, with Forbush taking the time to explain his job to the adoring Ryan.
"The owner bought this crane brand new in 2006 from Italy," Forbush explained in a letter to Ryan last month. "It's pretty cool. It's a little complicated cause it's all computerized."