Summers County girl attends school through a robot - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Summers County girl attends school through a robot

Posted:

Today thousands of students attended classes at school, but not a Summers County girl.

Ellie Rhodes had leukemia and now has a weakened immune system so she must stay at home.

However, she is still keeping up with her studies thanks to 21st century technology.

Vigo the Robot is making it possible for Ellie Rhodes to attend 4th grade at Hinton Area Elementary School.  She had leukemia and now has a weakened immune system so she has to stay at home.

"I interact with everybody and do the work and not miss out on anything," says Ellie, speaking to us through the robot.

The Summers County School Board got a grant through the Hinton Area Foundation to pay for the robot. The pricetag is $5,700. Since the first day of school Ellie has been in class, dialing in from a computer at her house.

"It's important for her just to know she can get up and do this. She can do the work. She can see her friends. She loves her teacher. It's important for her to have that teacher interaction too," says Paula Rhodes, Ellie's mother.

She says the robot is giving her daughter a normal life.

"We're not thinking about leukemia at that moment. We're not thinking about cancer. We're thinking about school. We're thinking about something that has taken our focus off of what is going on," says Paula Rhodes.

Not only is the robot enabling Ellie to keep up with her schoolwork, it's allowing her to be with her friends in class which is an important part of the educational process.

"If you think about my best had cancer, you might be like crying, but then if you think about it in my way, it's more like lolliop land," says Maggie Stover, a classmate and friend of Ellie.

"It's pretty cool. I get to talk to her.  You never seen nothing like this. This is the first time I've ever seen one," says Nathan Graham, a classmate and friend of Ellie.

In fact, Ellie's teacher, Cathy Shank says her class will go up and hug the robot because they're happy to have Ellie in class.

"It's not a distraction of any kind. Lots of times if I am teaching from my elmo she drives up beside me instead of right here because she can't see the board real clearly. I may hear a little giggle here and there because she is driving up behind me," says Shank.

Shank says the robot is like actually having Ellie in class.

"She hears all the instructions on anything we do. She participates. She read 2 or 3 things out loud this morning. They were taking turns reading," says Shank 

Thanks to Vigo the Robot, Ellie Rhodes is just like any other fourth grader.

"Children thrive on routine. They thrive on social interaction," says Paula Rhodes.

She says her daughter is making such great progress in getting her immune system back to normal that doctors are telling her Ellie may be able to attend the last two months of school in person.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Persons of Interest Sought in Triple Shooting

    Persons of Interest Sought in Triple Shooting

    Beckley (WVVA) -- Police now say they have persons of interest after a triple shooting in Beckley...More >>
    Beckley (WVVA) -- Police now say they have persons of interest after a triple shooting in Beckley...More >>
  • Teachers at North Tazewell Elementary take the 'ice bucket challenge'

    Teachers at North Tazewell Elementary take the 'ice bucket challenge'

    NORTH TAZEWELL (WVVA) Teachers at North Tazewell Elementary School decided to take the 'ice bucket challenge. More than 20 teachers and staff took part in the challenge Friday...More >>
    NORTH TAZEWELL (WVVA) Teachers at North Tazewell Elementary School decided to take the 'ice bucket challenge. More than 20 teachers and staff took part in the challenge Friday...More >>
  • Firefighter injured in Greenbrier Co. now recovering

    Firefighter injured in Greenbrier Co. now recovering

    A firefighter is recovering at home after being life flighted out on Monday.  The Smoot Volunteer Fire Department in Greenbrier County says one of its men went out to fuel up the truck Monday evening...More >>
    A firefighter is recovering at home after being life flighted out on Monday.  The Smoot Volunteer Fire Department in Greenbrier County says one of its men went out to fuel up the truck Monday evening...More >>
  • WV educational leaders address business summit

    WV educational leaders address business summit

    WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS (WVVA) -Common Core, technology, and dropouts were some of the most controversial topics educators discussed Friday at The Greenbrier Resort.The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce wrapped up its annual summit, but not before those attending heard from the state's educational leaders.The education symposium consisted of a panel of experts in education within the state, from the Board of Education President, Gayle Manchin, to the new superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano and...More >>
    WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS (WVVA) -Common Core, technology, and dropouts were some of the most controversial topics educators discussed Friday at The Greenbrier Resort.The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce wrapped up its annual summit, but not before those attending heard from the state's educational leaders.The education symposium consisted of a panel of experts in education within the state, from the Board of Education President, Gayle Manchin, to the new superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano and...More >>
  • 'The Pride of West Virginia' performs for students in Princeton

    'The Pride of West Virginia' performs for students in Princeton

    PRINCETON (WVVA) The West Virginia University Marching Band performed in front of thousands of schoolchildren in Mercer County.The 400 member band, also known...More >>
    PRINCETON (WVVA) The West Virginia University Marching Band performed in front of thousands of schoolchildren in Mercer County.The 400 member band, also known...More >>
  • Man is arrested for growing pot in his home

    Man is arrested for growing pot in his home

    FAYETTE COUNTY (WVVA) A man is arrested for growing marijuana in his home.Herbert Wayne Bowyer, 62, of Lavista is charged with one count of Cultivation of Marijuana...More >>
    FAYETTE COUNTY (WVVA) A man is arrested for growing marijuana in his home.Herbert Wayne Bowyer, 62, of Lavista is charged with one count of Cultivation of Marijuana...More >>
  • Beckley Police Officer Remembered

    Beckley Police Officer Remembered

    Beckley (WVVA) -- Officers in Beckley reflected on the life of a police officer lost in the line of duty. Friday marked the 8th anniversary of the death of Cpl. Chuck Smith. He was killed during an undercover narcotics purchase on South Fayette Street in 2006. During the purchase, one of the suspects opened fire, fatally wounding Smith. "He was someone who was very eager to learn. He was always very interested in drug work. He took a lot of pride in that. He felt he could make a difference in...More >>
    Beckley (WVVA) -- Officers in Beckley reflected on the life of a police officer lost in the line of duty. Friday marked the 8th anniversary of the death of Cpl. Chuck Smith. He was killed during an undercover narcotics purchase on South Fayette Street in 2006. During the purchase, one of the suspects opened fire, fatally wounding Smith. "He was someone who was very eager to learn. He was always very interested in drug work. He took a lot of pride in that. He felt he could make a difference in...More >>
  • Man Accused of Robbing Kroger Enters Plea

    Man Accused of Robbing Kroger Enters Plea

    Beckley (WVVA) -- A Parkersburg, West Virginia man accused of robbing the Kroger on Harper Road entered a plea in Beckley on Friday. Jonathan James Rager pleaded guilty to 2nd Degree Robbery. Police said he went into the store last March and pulled a gun on the cashier. Authorities were able to track Rager down at a Days Inn in Bradley two days later. He faces up to 18 years in prison when he is sentenced in November.More >>
    Beckley (WVVA) -- A Parkersburg, West Virginia man accused of robbing the Kroger on Harper Road entered a plea in Beckley on Friday. Jonathan James Rager pleaded guilty to 2nd Degree Robbery. Police said he went into the store last March and pulled a gun on the cashier. Authorities were able to track Rager down at a Days Inn in Bradley two days later. He faces up to 18 years in prison when he is sentenced in November.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WVVA.
All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Audrey Sluss at (304) 324-0659. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.