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IWA students print 3D masks to fight COVID-19

Posted at 7:41 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 20:41:11-04

Two Incarnate Word Academy students and a teacher have joined forces to develop about 100 PPE masks per week.

In his bedroom, 9-year-old John Matl uses the 3D printer that he got for his birthday to make dragons and dinosaurs.

“Those are for fun. But this is for coronavirus." he said. "This is like serious. Like this is for real. To help doctors and nurses treat patients so they don't get sick. So they can go back to their families."

11-year-old Cayson Little also has a 3D printer at home.

Both boys attend IWA where they use 3D printers as a part of their curriculum, which inspired them to get printers of their own.

Rob Boostrom is a fourth- and fifth-grade math and science teacher at IWA.

"We use the 3D printers for math, science and design projects all the time." Boostrom said. "We'll do something like a boat design project. We make bubble wands."

Boostrom gave the students the idea to start printing masks using their own printers.

"He called me and said would you like to help me make some masks for hospitals?" Little said. “It means a lot to me that I’m able to do some good in my community."

Boostrom then delivers the masks to Alexis Kadonsky, a local 3D designer, who adds elastic and gaskets before distributing them to hospitals, clinics and to first-responders.

"Some of them are donated to people in Corpus Christi." he said. "Some of them are going to places like New York and Los Angeles."

Later this week masks will be delivered to police officers in Boerne.

"I think it's important that the kids see that the things that we're learning in our math and science classes are applicable to the real world." Boostrom said. "When we're learning about the engineering process it's really because we're trying to solve problems and this is a big problem that everyone is trying to deal with -- how to stay safe or keep loved ones safe. And so the kids can see they can have a big impact on our community."

Boostrom plans to continue making masks as long as there is a need.

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