Edmonton high school students sew masks for peers during COVID-19 pandemic

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Edmonton high school students sew masks for peers during COVID-19
Students at Edmonton's Holy Trinity High School are taking a crash course in home economics. Morgan Black has more on some teens ensuring masks get to people who need them – Feb 4, 2021

High school students in Edmonton are getting crafty to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and aid fellow students.

Holy Trinity Catholic High School students are making masks by hand with classroom cohorts.

“At the beginning, it was kind of difficult but it (didn’t take much time) to pick up on the steps,” said Grade 10 student Hannah Truong.

A Holy Trinity Catholic High School student sewing a mask. Courtesy: Richard Downing

The face coverings will be given to students at the school who may not have space in their budget for extra masks.

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“It’s required to wear a mask to school, so you may just assume people have masks,” said Grade 10 student Jessy Primero. “But I know there are people who don’t.”

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Teacher Richard Downing said teachers noticed some students were wearing the same mask over and over again.

“That’s when we decided to reach out to the United Way to seek funding for a grant to help our students make masks,” he said.

The school received funding from Dentons Make Your Mark on Poverty, a United Way initiative which provides schools with an opportunity to access grants and take action against poverty in their city.

“Having that made the project feasible,” Downing said. “We purchased sewing machines, fabric. It gave students the opportunity to do something that wouldn’t have happened without it.”

Holy Trinity Students creating masks. Courtesy: Richard Downing

Kerri-Ann Koelmans said the COVID-19 restrictions meant three separate groups of students in grades 10, 11 and 12 worked to make masks.

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“We had to navigate them working in different places and different times. The dedication and effort the students put into the project was amazing,” she said.

The students, for many of whom it was their first time sewing, said the experience was extremely rewarding.

“I can help my community and I think that’s really meaningful… especially during this time,” Grade 10 student Carlin Canlas said.

After all the hard work (of making the masks), you get to give back,” Primero said.

The masks will be given privately to any students that require them.

“It will be delivered to student services,” Koelman said. “That’s our next step.”

Koelman said the students made more than 100 masks. Any additional masks that are not being used will be delivered to people who may need them within the community.

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