BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Back in April, WAFB photo-journalist, Rick Portier, introduced us to a 6th grade student at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School named Jakyra Brown. All of us at Channel 9 were moved not only by her story, but by the compassion of her fellow students.
Jakyra was born without a right hand, but this has not stopped her one bit. This strong young lady perseveres and has goals to go to college and study engineering, and we know she will.
But the story within the story is that of two of her classmates, fellow 6th grader, Kalil Sonnier, and 8th grader, Darius Manogin, are in a robotics class at Kenilworth and thought it would be an interesting project if they could create a mechanical hand for Jakyra.
With the help of their robotics teacher and the use of the school's 3D printer, the boys began designing and printing mechanical hands. After several prototypes and much tweaking, a pink hand was ready and customized with Jakyra's name right on the hand itself. They presented it to Jakyra. After a few modifications and tweaks, it was a perfect fit. Jakyra was elated; her mother in tears.
The design is one that allows Jakyra to put her entire right arm in the prosthetic. Then, when she bends her arm at the elbow, the hand closes. She demonstrated how she can pick up a cup of water, take a sip, then put it down. Brilliant!
This story caught the attention of Cathy Bickham, whose grandson, Dylan Worthington, is also a student at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School. She nominated Darius and Kalil for WAFB's Hand It On recognition.
"I thought it was an outstanding thing that y'all did," Cathy began, with Dylan at her side. "And I wanted to have y'all recognized with the Hand It On money to each of you. You each get $150," Cathy told the boys as grandson, Dylan, handed Darius and Kalil their money.
"Oh my gosh," Darius exclaimed.
"We thought this was going to be a $20 gift card," said Kalil.
But this Hand It On keeps on giving. When asked what they were going to do with their newfound wealth, Kalil brought the room near to tears when he said, "Well, since my mother's single, she never got anything for Mother's Day, and her birthday is on June 1, so I'm gonna' give her a present."
Wow. The room was speechless, then erupted into applause.
Two small boys with hearts the size of Texas. Am I the only one who learned something from their life example?
To nominate someone for Hand It On, send an e-mail to HandItOn@wafb.com. Make sure to include your contact information, especially your phone number.