Teachers help former student make N95 masks

Teachers help former student make N95 masks
Posted on 06/22/2020

Morganton, NC – Monday, May 11, 2020


What started off as a project involving just a former Burke County Public Schools student has now grown into a partnership with the school system staff to manufacture N95 masks.

Aiman Hussein, a 2017 graduate of Patton High School, is now a junior at North Carolina State University and majoring in technology design and education. After coming home to Morganton when the university was closed due to the pandemic, he wanted to put his skills to use to help his community. He found a design and started 3-D printing masks inside his home. Paul Gantt, a Project Lead the Way teacher and instructional coach, was Hussein’s senior project mentor. 

Project Lead the Way, which was started in 2012 with the leadership of  Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam,  is a program where students are exposed to engineering concepts, create products, and put them to the test, while addressing soft skills such as workplace etiquette. Project Lead Way catered to middle schoolers , but was later expanded to the high schools and now is in our  elementary schools as well. Students are now being introduced to engineering concepts and product development K-12.

Hussein’s senior project revolved around nothing other than 3-D printing. Gantt heard about Hussein’s success in making the N95 masks and reached out to him to congratulate him.

Gantt said, “He asked if we would be willing to help print some of the masks because we have 3-D printers at our schools.”

After receiving approval to use the 3-D printers, Clay Nelson, a technology engineering and design education teacher, transported a few 3-D printers to his home to start making the masks. When he uses up all his material, he will be able to make approximately 230 N95 masks.

Nelson said, “This is a really neat project to be a part of and everybody has to do what they can.”

Gantt and Nelson are thankful for this opportunity to support a former student so they can take what they have learned back to their students.

Gantt said, “It is interesting for me to see how productive a 3-D printing production can be when you dedicate to it. It is actually very informative for me and this is material I can take back to the classroom using a real life example.”

He hopes that high school graduates today see how support can be found in Burke County when they finish with their higher education. 

Gantt said, “In us showing support to young, bright people coming back into the community, that helps to set a precedent to the younger folks graduating now that their community is supportive and wants them to come back with their new skills, which in turn helps the community grow.” 

Hussein said, “That really helped in the beginning because I only had three printers. With them being able to print for me it  has been a huge help and to have my former high school back me up is really special.”

The masks have been shipped to multiple different countries as well as around the United States. Hussein has created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for materials needed to create the masks. For those who are interested in donating to the cause, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/adh-creations-3d-printed-medical-masks

BCPS Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “It is amazing to see how former students can use their skills they learned while in BCPS and higher education to help our community, state and even other countries in this time. It is no accident that Aiman Hussein, former BCPS student is now manufacturing N-95 masks.  He was introduced  with an engineering program, had  great teachers like Paul Gantt, Clay Nelson and many others across the district. Just wait, there are many other students like Aiman that have come through Burke County Public Schools and many more on the way.  Not only do they know how to get to work on time and have the necessary soft skills, but they are positively impacting the world in the midst of a pandemic.”

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