Tech students back in class to help their community

Published: Apr. 22, 2020 at 4:36 PM EDT
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Students at Beekmantown Central School District are giving back to their community and it's all thanks to what they learned inside the classroom.

"I honestly don't remember when we started making them; it feels like it's been forever," said Nathaniel Horn, the technology teacher at BCSD.

The 3D printers, four advanced design students and faculty are spread out among four classrooms at the Beekmantown School. All are working overtime while maintaining their distance.

"Every day working three to four hours or more a day," Horn said.

They are doing what they can to keep those on the front lines safe, using the tech they have to make the community coveted face shields.

"Knowing that I'm helping out in the time of crisis is thrilling," said R.J. Barcomb, a senior at BCSD.

Clinton County is facing a shortage of personal protective gear like many communities across the country.

"I wouldn't call it tough, I'd say along the lines of long," Barcomb said.

It takes anywhere from one to 12 hours to 3D print the visor. They use a laser cutter to cut the shield, sand it down and attach the final product sporting it's Eagle Pride.

The cost of the shields is covered by school grants and the students are getting more than just a grade for their work.

"Students get paid $15 an hour," said Michelle Armani of ETS Staffing.

"The fact that we're getting paid just adds to the benefit," Barcomb said.

ETS Staffing is paying the students from their Ready4Real program funded by the state. The goal is to show the students how education and hands-on learning can prepare them for life outside school.

"That's really to me what education is, how do I take what I love and apply it to the world when I'm needed? And that's exactly what they are doing," Armani said.

There are two different kinds of face shields being made by the students. One for the health care workers with a little bit of a thicker material, and one for first responders with a little bit of a thinner material. So far, they've made about 300 masks and say they plan to continue to make them while the community is still in need.

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