Sonia Sotomayor teachers using 3D printers to help healthcare workers


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A few teachers at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary are keeping students engaged during distance learning while also giving back to the community. Using 3D printers, they are producing ear savers for healthcare workers.

Sonia Sotomayor may be empty but staff members have full hearts when it comes to giving back.

“This has been a new experience for everybody I bet but it’s also going to help us to grow as teachers,” Vasquez said.

Rodrigo Vasquez is from Chile and has been teaching here for more than four years. Right now, on top of his normal duties, he’s printing ear savers on the school’s 3D printer. They’re for frontline workers down the street at Sanford.

Holsen: How does it make you feel to be able to do that for healthcare workers.

Vasquez: It makes me feel really good. This is just a little thing. I’m just trying to help somehow.

“I’m just so proud of these teachers that are willing to take their time every day as they’re also trying to navigate the world of online learning with their students. Doing something for someone else, I think it’s incredible,” Vik said.

Vasquez will be delivering his first 50 to Sanford nurses and Sioux Falls School Board member Carly Reiter this week.

“People here have been trying different things. We have different hairstyles and different heads and all sorts of things. So it’s nice to have some options to see what will work best for people,” Reiter said.

Reiter says Sanford staff are wearing masks for long periods of time each day and the ear savers make a huge difference. She says the help means a lot.

“Thank you to everybody who is thinking of healthcare workers and other important people in the community who are still out there working their jobs and working harder at them now than they were in the past in lots of different ways. Thanks everyone for their support,” Reiter said.

Vasquez plans to continue making the ear savers for as long as they’re needed. It takes 46 minutes to make just one on the 3D printer.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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