Chelsea Olsafsky was concerned that her mother would miss her commencement because of an illness, but two classmates weren’t going to let that happen.

Chelsea Olsafsky was concerned that her mother would miss her commencement because of an illness, but two classmates weren’t going to let that happen.

Olsafsy, a senior at Claymont High School in Uhrichsville, received help from juniors Shelden Spencer of Uhrichsville and Conner Smith of Dennison, who will take the ceremony to Cynthia Olsafsy with the help of technology.

Using two laptop computers, a Web cam borrowed from the school and peer-to-peer video/telephone Web site Skype, the boys have arranged for Cynthia Olsafsky to watch the ceremony live on her computer from the family’s Stillwater home. Chelsea’s father, David Olsafsky, is unsure whether he will remain at home with Cynthia or attend the ceremony Sunday.

Spencer and Smith will be manning one laptop and the Web cam from the school’s gym, and Skype will feed to the Olsafskys’ connected laptop. Spencer also can communicate with Cynthia Olsafsky while filming by using Skype’s instant messaging service to ensure she can hear and see everything.

Spencer and Smith were at the Olsafsky home last week to set up the equipment with the help of teacher Dianne Albaugh. A successful test run was performed during graduation practice on Wednesday.

Chelsea Olsafsky said the idea came about as she talked with Smith and Spencer during one of Albaugh’s technology classes in April. Olsafsky thought of Kent State University’s Distance Learning program and wondered if the same concept could apply to her family’s situation.

“That was my part,” she said. “They did the rest of it.”

Albaugh said that she could see the excitement in her students’ eyes as they brainstormed possibilities.

Spencer thought of his PlayStation 3 game console and its video chat capabilities that he uses to talk to his brother in Youngstown. The two juniors knew that system could work but were concerned about hauling two PS3 systems around and the manpower needed to operate them.

One student would need to be with a console at the Olsafsky home and the other at the school with the second console.

After researching on their own, Spencer and Smith decided on Skype because of its ease of use and no cost. Plus, Cynthia Olsafsky could view the ceremony on a laptop that she already was familiar with. The family only had to upgrade to a faster Internet connection to ensure the video stream wouldn’t be interrupted during the ceremony.

Albaugh said she is proud of her students and their innovative thinking.

“We love Chelsea,” she said. “And we love these guys.”

The Times-Reporter