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Former Sherman Student Donates 3-D Printed Mask Extenders to Teachers

Connor 1 Connor Luckett is one of many former Sherman High School students conducting his studies online this semester, due to COVID-19. The 2015 SHS alumnus is a graduate student in his second year of Brown University’s Ph.D. program in computer science. Luckett had no clue that his extended stay in his hometown would put his hobby for 3-D printing to great use for Sherman ISD.

Luckett’s family friend and Sory Elementary Assistant Principal, Lori Hartman, posted a request on Facebook asking friends with a 3-D printer if they would be interested in helping her with a service project that included designing mask extenders for teachers. Luckett replied to the post and offered his assistance. Hartman described what she was looking for, offered to pay for materials and shipping, but Luckett quickly declined her offer and started working on the project. 

“I was amazed at Connor's quick reply and generosity. He’s an outstanding example of someone with a servant heart,” said Hartman. “Seeing a former SISD student give back to the community that invested in them is a beautiful thing. We truly are building Bearcats.”

Using a 3-D printer, Luckett assembled 3-D ear extenders for Hartman and Sherman ISD faculty and staff to relieve pressure from their ears after wearing facemasks regularly. Luckett began his 3-D printing hobby while he was in high school and enjoyed creating the extenders for SISD teachers. 

Connor 2 "Spending about ten dollars and a few hours of my time is the least I could do,” Luckett said after explaining that the entire process to create one batch of six extenders takes three hours. 

Piner Middle School’s art teacher Martha Stephens received some of the 3-D extenders and was excited the helpful creation was produced by a Bearcat.

“He gave me a few and I gave them away immediately to several teachers. I requested more, saying he could sell them for one dollar each,” said Stephens. “Instead, he donated about 50 to me to give out. It’s great seeing one of our students giving back to his former teachers and schools.”

Luckett’s extra time at home has made it possible for him to be of service to SISD teachers. He’s happy to give back to the district that prepared him for school and invested so much in him.

Connor 3 “I print a few at a time so I’ll have extras for teachers when necessary,“ explained Luckett. “I wanted to get as many out to the district as possible. Little by little I want to help contribute to my teachers, it goes a long way.”

Luckett used instructions from an open-source 3-D fan page to construct the extenders. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept design has become popular. He initially heard how easy it was to manufacture equipment through the Brown Design Workshop as they made personal protective equipment for Rhode Island hospital employees.

“3-D printing has gotten so easy in the past decade. I let my machine run for a few hours, then repeat. My time is minimal, these amazing printers do all the work.”

Luckett is pleased his extenders will be used by his former teachers. He credits his Sherman ISD education for sparking his interest early on in computer science. In the seventh-grade, he first learned about 3-D printers at Piner Middle School in math class. 

“I remember learning about 3-D printers in class and it was magical but the cost was ten thousand dollars,” he said. “I just bought one for $200 the other day, it’s amazing how much 3-D printing technology has advanced.”

Luckett was a double major at Austin College. He finished with his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Computer Science with a minor in physics in 2019.

“I was fortunate to take college-level AP classes at SHS and had great teachers. Calculus really prepares you for STEM and it puts you ahead. I was very satisfied with the level of education I received at SHS.”

Luckett currently works for the Brown Database Group and looks forward to a career in data engineering after graduation. 

Jasmine Baker
jbaker@shermanisd.net