Three Butler Tech students — (from left) Daniel Walter, Andrew Johnson and Emely Giraldi — are putting the finishing touches on a child-sized pedal car they built to serve as an auction item next month to benefit CancerFree Kids. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

Students hope mini car raises big money for pediatric cancer cure

Three area high school students are putting the finishing touches on a colorfully painted, child-sized pedal car they built from scratch to serve as an auction item next month to benefit CancerFree Kids.

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The pedal car now taking shape in the auto shop of Butler Tech’s Fairfield Twp. campus was the idea of Fred Hurt, who teaches high school students auto collision technology.

“This is the first pedal car we’ve done for CancerFree Kids,” said Hurt.

The car will be auctioned off to the highest bidder during a CancerFree Kids banquet and fundraiser next month. It likely won’t be ridden in by a child but rather will serve as an inspirational, decorative piece by whomever bids to own and display it.

“Hopefully some of their high-end donors will buy it,” and the money will go to research in defeating childhood cancers, Hurt said.

“Since we started this project we have found out that at least three people in our Butler Tech family have been affected by pediatric cancer,” he said.

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Emely Giraldi, a high school junior, said she was surprised when Hurt picked her and two classmates — Daniel Walter and Andrew Johnson — to create the vehicle.

“We never touched an air brush (paint applier) before and we have been working on it for about month,” said Giraldi.

The pedal car is being painted by the students with an inspirational scene of cancer-free children releasing balloons on one side and a sunrise symbolizing a dawn of new health on the other.

“We’re doing a sunrise theme because it’s a new day for the kids to enjoy. We’re just doing something good so we can auction it off and do something good for these kids,” she said.

A.J. Huff, spokeswoman for Butler Tech, said the project reflects some of the values the school instills in students beyond traditional, career classroom instruction.

“Giving our students an opportunity to utilize their skills, on a project such as the pedal car for CancerFree Kids, takes a hands-on learning experience to an entirely different level,” said Huff.

“These students are excited about their trade, so by applying that passion with purpose, the students make a connection between helping others and their own joy,” she said. “And they are building character while also contributing to the world around them.”

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