Building bridges

Senior Quinn Rylander clears path, rebuilds bridge connecting school to River Bends Park


Maura Rylander

Over the river behind the school, the old and hazardous bridge is changed into a newer, safer version by senior Quinn Rylander. The project required months of planning and gathering donated supplies, along with some help from some of his friends from his cross country team.

Jacob Joseph and Collin Fox

While walking through the messy and overgrown trials connecting the school to River Bends Park, senior Quinn Rylander decided that something needed to change.

“The cross country team has been running through that mess for years,” Rylander said, “and I wanted to make it better for them and anyone else who wants to use the trails.”
Rylander also noticed that the former bridge that was there needed to go, as well.

“It was just a few wobbly planks of wood and a log,” Rylander said. “We would almost fall in every time we crossed. I wanted to make an actual bridge for everyone to use.”

That’s exactly what he did, but according to Rylander, it wasn’t easy to get the materials that he needed to execute his plan.

“I put together a proposal,” he said, “of what I was going to do and how I was going to do it.”

Rylander also met with Home Depot where the store okayed his proposal. Managers gave him four $25 coupons and paid for the rest of the bridge. According to Rylander, they approved of his idea because of the benefits it would give to the community and school.

Despite this, he still wasn’t ready to start building.

“I also had to get my proposal approved by the park ranger,” Rylander explained. “First, I had to set up a meeting with him, and I showed him a PowerPoint of what I was going to do. He okayed my proposal and agreed to be my mentor for [the project].”

Rylander spent many hours back on the trail putting in hard work, using power tools and a dream to transform the former difficult path to an easy walk for students and residents alike.

“It’s incredible,” principal Thomas Lietz said. “It’s great for the students and great for the park, and it’s awesome.”
Lietz isnt’ the only one who loves what Rylander has done.

“He did a great job,” senior Joe Simbeni said. “The [cross country] team can actually run through the trials and cross safely now.”

“The trail looks so much better now,” junior Jeremiah Davidson said. “I’m so happy someone finally fixed it up.”

Students, athletes, and residents from Utica and Shelby Township are sure to appreciate the work Rylander did in order to make the park safer.