CINCINNATI — For many people, wearing a mask has become a part of daily life, but for some, wearing a mask is nearly impossible. Which is why a group of high school engineering students came together to make a very special mask for 11-year-old Kathryn Ferrara who has Down Syndrome.
What You Need To Know
- Kathryn Ferrara is 11 and has Down syndrome
- Until this point, she hasn't tolerated wearing a mask because she doesn't like anything touching her face or her hair
- Kathryn needed a mask for an upcoming plane trip, so several engineering students from Milford High School came together to find a solution
- The students figured out a way to make a face shield that connects to Kathryn's vest that protects her and keeps her comfortable
An engineering class at Milford High School got involved after hearing that Kathryn didn't like things touching her face or hair, but needed a mask for an upcoming plane ride.
“She doesn’t want anything to touch her face or her hair so we wanted to come up with something that wouldn’t do either of those things," said Brendan Cobain, a senior engineering student at Milford High School.
The students put their minds together to try and come up with a solution for Kathryn.
“We finally got to the attachments down here about how to attach it to her vest and how to keep it secure so she couldn’t pull it off or anything," said Shreya Terala, another student.
The students made several prototypes, and eventually came up with a clear plastic shield that attached to her vest instead of behind her ears or around her head.
“At the end of the day, this solution was the one that was simplest," student Jack Laing said. "It worked and it fit all the criteria constraints.”
Kathleen Ferrara, Kathryn's mom, loved it.
“This has been a God send," Kathleen Ferrara said. "This has been our key back to normalcy.”
Kathleen said she wasn’t sure something like this was even possible.
“I never, actually in a million years thought that there would be anything that she would leave alone," she said.
She said, thanks to the students, her daughter now has the chance to be back out in the community and stay healthy.
“They chose to work for a little girl who they’ve ever met who has special needs," Kathleen said. "And they did change her life. They changed my life as well.”
For the students, it’s something they’re grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of.
“You get a person like Kathryn in here and you’re actually making a difference in this person’s life," Laing said. "You’re changing their life. And that kind of hits you at some point.”
Editor's note: The story has been updated to correct the spelling of Shreya Terala's name.