Lizzie Lusk's body can't take her much of anywhere, but by reading, her mind can go everywhere.

Lizzie Lusk's body can't take her much of anywhere, but by reading, her mind can go everywhere.

Lusk, 22, has severe cerebral palsy and has lived at the Heinzerling Foundation since 2001. Members of the St. Francis DeSales High School InvenTeam last week presented her with an electronic reader.

They did so after many, many months of trying, and succeeding -- sort of -- to perfect an automatic page-turner the young woman could use in reading physical books.

The Page-O-Matic, as the young people dubbed their invention, works all right, just not for someone with Lusk's limited mobility.

While some InvenTeam members are continuing to tinker with the device, which they presented last summer at the Lemelson-MIT Program, several of the students decided to give Lusk the e-reader as a way of thanking her for her participation in the project and for being a source of inspiration for them.

"We wanted to make sure Lizzie was left with something that would help her," said Jill Pina, a math teacher at DeSales and the current adviser to the group. "It was amazing to see the excitement on her face.

"When she realized what she had and what we were giving her ... the joy that she showed, it was so incredibly satisfying. Her comment was, 'All of the possibilities are open for me. I can do whatever I want.'

"For her to say that without anyone asking her how she felt ... it was an incredibly satisfying experience, especially for the kids. I'm very proud of them. They're awesome."

"Having this e-reader will give her the ability to access books that she wants to read or you can have the books read to you, as well," said Brian Asbury, director of development and public relations at the Heinzerling Foundation.

"It's opened up a whole new opportunity for her to connect with different mediums. It's just going to be her own personal way to learn more."

The project that would become the Page-O-Matic and lead to the young people getting to know Lusk began with the club's previous adviser, Jim Savinell, now a teacher at Marysville High School. He obtained a grant of just under $5,000 from the Lemelson Foundation, which "celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention," according to the program's website.

"My first idea was to create a page-turner for pianists," he said.

But some of the team members had, through a service project, made a connection with the Heinzerling Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the care, education and treatment of "non-ambulatory individuals with multiple developmental disabilities," according to the website.

"So the students really decided to pick the project and craft it for a student with a disability," Savinell said. "By contacting the Heinzerling Foundation, we found Lizzie, who was really the perfect person for our project."

The task of creating a working prototype of the page-turner took about a year, Savinell said.

It features a mechanical arm with a 20-inch reach and two book clamps attached to an inclined base. According to the Lemelson-MIT Program website, "the arm and clamps are operated by a microprocessor to turn pages using friction. The 5-inch diameter buttons are actuated with a lateral forearm motion. The device will target standard 7- by 10-inch textbooks, and will be able to accommodate up to 18- by 12- by 2-inch hardcover books."

At the presentation for the summer 2014 Lemelson-MIT Program, one person in the audience who uses a wheelchair was able to successfully operate the Page-O-Matic, Savinell said.

But the prototype was just that, not a long-term working model. "It just wouldn't have been fully functional for Lizzie's needs," former InvenTeam member Ali Baird of Westerville said.

Baird will attend Georgetown University in the fall.

Some students are still seeking to adapt the invention so that Lusk can use it.

"That shows how committed the students are to helping Lizzie and passionate about the project," Savinell said.

They decided to get her the e-reader as a sort of "symbolic closure," he said.

"Her face just lit up," Baird said. "She has such a passion for reading."

"She was just so excited," commented Dublin resident Emily Piatt, an InvenTeam alumna who will be attending the University of Cincinnati.