PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - As the school year got underway just a few weeks ago, a 5-year-old girl with dwarfism was finally starting to embrace her independence. That realization for Lilian Holder, that she wanted to start doing things on her own, sent her mother Robyn into action.
“I posted on Facebook a question, if any of my LP, little people friends, knew of a faucet extender that wasn’t the Aqueduck," Holder said.
The Aqueduck wasn’t working for Lilian, and Holder said that her daughter would soon grow out of yellow ducks. Holder is an elementary school teacher at the Pass Christian Elementary and Middle School campus. When fellow middle school teacher Brandon Warden saw the social media post, he realized the opportunity to teach his students about serving the community through technology education.
“Mr. Warden, from the middle school, he teaches STEM class, he said ‘Hey, is this something that my class could design and print with a 3-D printer,’ and I was just like, mind blown, yes," Holder said.
Because some of Warden’s students were taught by Holder, they were immediately invested.
“She can’t reach the sink as someone without her disability. So, it’s important because we want to give her like the same equal chances we have so she can be like independent. Everyone likes their independence," said STEM student Elizabeth Collums.
Richard Dedeaux is also a STEM student in Warden’s class.
“We’re doing this for this little girl so she could be able to reach her sink better. The way we’re doing that is we’re building something in Tinkercad so she can reach it. We’re gonna 3-D print it. When it 3-D prints, it’s making like the whole model, and we’re gonna hook it up to her sink so she can be able to use it," Dedeaux said.
Not unlike a frozen yogurt machine, the 3-D printer is building Lilian’s faucet extender bead-by-bead from the bottom up.
“Students export the 3-D object file out, and then we can run that through our software that slices that up. Then, our 3-D printer uses that and prints from bottom to top. It allows the platform to move down as it beads the plastic around to the shape that we asked it to," Warden said.
The dual purpose in this lesson, Warden said, is the most rewarding part of it all.
“We are extremely excited to be able to offer this to our community and also help out those that are in need. I think it’s important for us as a school to utilize our technology not only to educate our students but to help improve our community," Warden said.
Holder said that this lesson for these STEM students will serve them long after they’ve tossed their high school graduation caps.
“Our Pirate community is very small. I taught some of these kids who are in this class when they were in the 5th grade. So many parents tell me that they heard they were doing this" Holder told WLOX. “They asked if it was for Lily and that how much it’s impacted the lives of these kids. They’re designing something that they know is gonna be useful, it’s helpful, it’s fulfilling a need that my daughter has."
Warden said that he hopes that this project is the start of others like it for years to come.