High School Junior Sews Masks for Medical Professionals Serving during Pandemic

The outbreak of COVID-19 has surfaced many needs in the world around us. It can be natural to feel paralyzed by the need, but one high/school junior responded by getting busy. John Sciarretti has been sewing masks for medical professionals in the area. His goal is to sew 300. He's already well on his way, having sewn and distributed 80 masks.

Sciarretti explains, "I had the idea of getting involved when I had seen that many famous designers, and even local people were making face masks for the medical community; however, when I had seen on KDKA that local senior-living centers were using coffee filters and rubber bands as a masks it gave me a push to get started right away." He approached Baldwin High School teacher Cheri Foote to ask for her help enlisting classmates to join the effort. A number of other students are now sewing masks at home as well, including Hannah Stock, Neenie Overn, Allison Schroeder, Isabella Boehm, and Madison Beardsley. Each one brings their own context which they are serving with masks. Neenie Overn made masks for her fellow employees at Caste Village Giant Eagle and Hannah and Leah Stock are making masks for their neighbors and friends who are nurses.

Sciarretti is enthusiastic about the task. He reflects, "it makes me feel good to give back to the community by using my skills. Instead of using my materials for my college fashion-design portfolio, I would rather use them to make masks for the medical community during this time of shortage and uncertainty."

Baldwin High School teacher Cheri Foote shares, "I sponsor the National Art Honor Society at BHS. One of our primary purposes is for the students to use their artistic talents to give back to the community. It makes me so happy to know some of our students are taking it upon themselves to volunteer during this difficult time. I decided to join Johnny in this project, but only managed to make 12 masks to his 80! He's far better at using the sewing machine than I am! Johnny said several other students are also making masks from home. It's a wonderful group effort!"

Virginia Pfatteicher, BHS teacher and sponsor of the Fashion Club, shared, "this is just one more example of Baldwin-Whitehall students sending their talents out into the community. This is the first year Fashion Club has existed and already these kids have made a difference! I am so proud to be their sponsor!"

Sciarretti plans to study fashion design at FIDM (The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles, California. He was recently accepted to the program through their junior acceptance program, a high bar for students that requires a high grade-point and robust portfolio for consideration.

Sciarretti's efforts have been highlighted by WTAE, The Trib, and FIDM.