Teens Make Prosthetic For Disabled Student To Follow Her Dream Of Being A Cellist

Moms like to encourage their kids and tell them that they can do anything that they dream about. But for some, there are physical limitations that can be barriers to pursuing the activities that they love. Thankfully, for children with limb differences, new technologies allow for a lot more possibilities.

With 3D printers, people have even more access to adaptive materials that can allow kids to reach even further. That's what helped teachers and teenagers find a solution for a middle schooler who wanted to join her school orchestra.

Kayla Arqueta just wants to play the cello. It's a desire of so many middle schoolers who want to explore music and find a place to fit in. But Kayla was born without a left forearm and hand, and when she approached the orchestra director at Austin Middle School, her teacher wasn't sure how to help.

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But Carly Addison told the Good News Network she just couldn't say no. She researched stories of other amputees who were able to play musical instruments through adaptive technologies, and she found a free set of online blueprints for a prosthetic.

Addison then reached out to the engineering teacher at the nearby high school, Dwight Davison, and he had the 3D printer needed to put the project into action. As teachers do, Davison made it a teaching moment, and he gathered a team of volunteer students to work on the prosthetic. Some were musicians themselves, but all of them just had a heart for helping.

Kayla with students who designed her prosthetics
Credit: Vimeo/Nimitz High School

They adapted the design to fit Kayla's limb and built the prosthetic for her. That allowed Kayla to pick up her bow and make some beautiful music.

According to Addison, the device has allowed Kayla to join in and she has been empowered to play her part in the orchestra. And Kayla said in a school video that the process taught her that it's OK to need help and to ask for it.

“I would like other students to know that life is challenging, but everyone is going to love you for who you are," she said in the video, which featured Kayla playing her cello alongside all the other kids.

Kayla doesn't let her differences stop her, and the way that other kids have rallied around her means so much. They all learned big lessons, and that's just beautiful to hear.

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