Wednesday, May 7, 2014
While the news is usually focused on hate, corruption, and crime, not all is lost. While your favorite politician was busy mourning the mysterious death of the investigative journalist who was about to publish a damning exposé, everyday heroes were at work.
Our story begins in Roscoe, Illinois. Kylie Wicker was born without fingers on her left hand and her parents' benevolent insurance company only offered to pay for one prosthetic in her lifetime. Her parents had a heartbreaking decision to make: let her live with fingers now and lose them later, or wait until she is an adult so that her fingers would last beyond the next growth spurt. Being without any positive choices, they decided to wait until Kylie was done growing to get the prosthetic. Instead of the natural response, homicidal rage, her parents took to the internet to find out what other families were doing. Her parents found that 3-D printing could now print prosthetic limbs, but that the costs were still astronomical. They emailed local schools to ask if their students could take on the project. The first two schools declined.
Enter the engineering graphics class at Boylan Catholic High School. The class' teacher, Bud May, accepted the challenge and met Kylie's parents to iron out details. The final product would be challenging: approximately 30 pieces that had to be responsive, durable, movable, and mimic the human hand. It would need to be significantly better than previous bionic hands. Bud and 10 students jumped at the challenge and got to work. While many of us spent our technology classes dying of dysentery and watching our oxen drown, this class was making Kylie's life unimaginably better.
For roughly $5, or less than many people pay every morning to an internationally traded, 21,000 store corporation doing business in 64 countries and charging you airport prices for banana bread while often killing business for local cafés (As long as the money doesn't go to McDonald's! Grrrr!), this class built a prosthetic hand for Kylie. The hand has been successful and Kylie is now enjoying playing with dolls and riding her bike. Some may ask why the lazy class printed a hand instead of a vital organ for someone in need, the answer is simple: common core is at fault.
In summary, Bud and his students are heroes: they made Kylie's life unimaginably better, saved her family tens of thousands of dollars, and showed others how cheaply and easily this can be done. Despite everything given to her, Kylie was not the only winner in this story. Bud and his class will forever know that they helped give Kylie a normal childhood and have this amazing experience to springboard them into adulthood or something.
Until next week, may all your dreams come true.
Bud May and the Wicker Family