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Herriman Journal

Skilled Herriman high students sew masks for Special Olympics

Oct 05, 2020 02:25PM ● By Jet Burnham

Lauren Schouten, Stella Snyder and Oliva Rindlisbacher sew masks for Special Olympics athletes. (Doug Flagler/Jordan School District)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Lauren Schouten, Stella Snyder and Oliva Rindlisbacher, seniors in the advanced sewing class at Herriman High School, made 50 masks during two class periods for Utah’s Special Olympics athletes.

“Our students want to give back,” sewing teacher Jen Glassey said. “I love that they’ll learn something in this class where they have a skill, and they can use it to give back to the community.”

While students in beginning sewing classes usually make items for themselves, the advanced class students often use their skills to make items for others. Last year, they made more than 100 quilts, which they donated to homeless shelters, Primary Children’s Hospital and the children who benefitted from HHS’s Hearts of Gold fundraiser.

“What I love with [career and technical education] is they learn the skills in class, but then they’re using it for their community or using it for their careers,” said Julianna Wing, Herriman High School CTE coordinator.

The skills students learn in CTE classes—sewing, cooking, woodworking, auto repair, health sciences, agriculture, business and technology skills—can be a stepping stone to a career or just be useful in everyday life.

“We’re teaching them skills, and we want them to look beyond the classroom,” Glassey said.

Sewing students have used what they've learned in class to repair holes in their brothers’ pants, fix ripped belt loops on their own clothing and to score good deals on damaged thrift shop clothing that they knew they could easily repair and alter themselves.

Oliva Rindlisbacher has also used her sewing skills to make gifts for others—a stuffed animal for her sister and doll clothes for her younger cousins. She was thrilled with the assignment to make masks for Special Olympics athletes.

“I love the feeling that it's given me,” she said. “I’m such a people-oriented person, and knowing that this is going to help people out, I love that.”

Senior Lauren Schouten feels lucky to be a part of this project.

“I’m happy that we can help them out and give them what is right now an essential,” she said. It's as essential as food or water right now for everybody.” 

The three students in the advanced sewing class worked together to measure, cut, press and sew all 50 masks in just two class periods. Glassey said they’ll probably sign up to sew more if they decide that’s what they want to work on.

Often, the assignments in advanced CTE classes are project-based and meet students’ interests. Wing said Glassey never says no to a project.

“The cool thing about the sewing program is we can ask the students what they want to do,” Glassey said. Last year, a student was interested in costume design, so the class worked together to make costumes for the school play. This year, senior Stella Snyder is interested in outdoor production and design. Class assignments have included making a hammock and designing clothing for outdoor sports.

All three advanced students are interested in fashion and design. Last year, they were invited to participate in a design project for the TV show “Project Runway.” Due to COVID-19, the event was cancelled. The girls are working to find a way to complete their projects and hold a local event to showcase their designs.

Glassey said HHS offers six different sewing classes. She was excited when the sudden need for masks this year inspired a renewed interest in sewing within the community. Those with sewing skills were able to make masks for family and friends and to sell their products on Etsy and Facebook.

Special Olympics of Utah will provide all materials needed to anyone interested in sewing masks for their athletes. You can sign up at

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