Welsh uses scraps of fabric and spare time to make masks


Katherine Welsh

Junior Katherine Welsh advertised the masks she made on her Instagram account, and offered to send them to anyone who wanted one..

Junior year at SPA is no walk in the park, from a slew of standardized tests to the college search process, COVID-19 has complicated what was already a notoriously difficult year. Despite that, one junior in particular, Katherine Welsh, found time over the course of summer 2020 to give back to her friends, family, and broader community. Creating masks and giving them away free of charge.
It all started with Welsh’s own problems with the masks.
“I had some masks, but they didn’t fit my face super well, so I started making a bunch of my own,” she said.
But before she could create her own masks, Welsh needed to learn how to sew them using her sewing machine.
“I followed a pattern that I found online that you could print off…. the one I found had a couple of different patterns, and one of them was women and teens, so that fit really well, and then I could adjust the elastic however tight I wanted it,” she said.
Having solved her immediate problem, Welsh realized the potential of the masks to help others within her community. So, after diving practice one day, Welsh stopped by a Jo-Ann fabric store and picked up more materials.
“I put on Instagram that if anybody, anybody wanted one, I’d be happy to send them one,” she said.
Over the course of the summer, Welsh donated a total of 30 masks.
“I probably ended up making 50 this whole summer, and then I have maybe 20 left” she said.
Despite being able to churn out an astounding 10-15 masks a day, Welsh’s summer did not revolve solely around mask-making. Her charitable actions took place after babysitting small children or hours of grueling diving practice. Yet, despite her time and schedule constraints, Welsh found time to give back to the community.
“So usually, I would just figure out a way to drop them off or mail them to people” she said.
COVID-19 has valuable lessons around charity and kindness, something which Welsh took in stride, despite having her summer turned on its head after the original outbreak.