Service at a distance: sewing masks for community partners


Jun-Young Hong

Jun-Young pictured with her masks.

Audrey Lee, Executive Editor

Jun-Young ’20, Jodie Kuo ’20, and alumna Seyoung Hong ’18 give masks to Dr. David Lee (father of Colin Lee ’20) at Virginia Hospital Center.


Although we are not physically with each other, Potomac has come together to help healthcare workers and others who are providing key services amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Senior Jun-Young Hong, a leader of ASIA club and Fem n’ Stem, has decided to involve the Potomac community in a service project to make face masks for healthcare professionals working on the front lines. 

Originally starting with her family, Jun-Young began making masks out of old t-shirts and bedsheets over the break.

“It’s easy to feel helpless while you see all the healthcare professionals working day in and day out to help everybody. So, I wanted to see if  I could do something to help. I think my interest in healthcare was a big draw to that as well. It’s also just highlighted the importance of healthcare and their impact and how essential they are to society,” said Jun-Young. 

Through branching out to the school, Jun-Young, ASIA club, and Fem n’ Stem have been able to donate over 125 masks to two Potomac community partners: the Virginia Hospital Center, where Potomac parent Dr. David Lee works, as well as the Vinson Hall Retirement Community. 

“Vinson Hall is full of older adults who may have weakened immune systems or pre-existing health conditions, and they are in need of masks. Our whole goal is to protect the people who have been exposed to it like doctors, nurses and people who are more at risk of becoming severely ill,” said junior co-leader of Fem n’ Stem Haley Smith. 

Whether that be donating materials like cotton t-shirts to Jun-Young’s house, prepping materials to be sent out, sewing masks on your own, or writing a simple note of gratitude to the medical staff who are receiving the masks, anyone can get involved. 

“It’s something a lot of people can do, and I feel like a lot of people have free time and are bored. It’s something productive you can do other than school,” said Jun-Young.

Along with these face masks, Jun-Young has also teamed up with faculty member Mary Jarratt, parent Dr. Lee, and alumni, Nicole Huang to make face shields for the Virginia Hospital Center and other practices in need of more heavy-duty equipment. Using the 3D printers at school, Ms. Jarratt has been able to collaborate with Jun-Young and Nicole. 

“I had heard of a lot of my doctor friends being really concerned about their well-being and the right way to take care of patients,” said Ms. Jarratt. 

“So, when Jun-Young got involved in the face mask project, I also received another email about face shields from Potomac alum Nicole Huang, currently in med school. This project is student-driven by Jun-Young and is more meaningful with the involvement of alumna Nicole who also participated in robotics in the Upper School. The consultation with Dr. Lee ensured that the final product would be useful in keeping the health care workers safe,” she continued. 

Using the 3D printers from the SERC room and another from I.T., Ms. Jarratt and the rest of the team aim to print about 50 face shields per week. 

“While working through the kinks in the 3D printer, we are utilizing the time to obtain the correct materials and create a system for assembling the final product,” said Ms. Jarratt. 

“Both Mr. Jaeger and Mr. McLane have been incredibly supportive. They really had no idea where this project was going to go, but it’s looking great,” she continued. 

This community-wide collaboration has resulted in a fun and involved project that will go a long way to keep medical professionals safe.