DMA cadet AJ Kuratle works on sewing a surgical mask

DMA cadet AJ Kuratle works on sewing a surgical mask

Delaware Military Academy senior AJ Kuratle is home with her family while her school has been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but her learning hasn't stopped.

Kuratle has joined what is a complete family effort in sewing masks that they plan to donate to a local nursing home.

While they're not to the M95 grade of surgical masks, as those masks have become in shorter supply, some nurses and doctors have been putting other types of masks over them, to try to extend their life.

AJ said while she started by simply measuring out fabric for her mother who was operating the family's sewing machine, she decided she wanted to do something more interesting.

"I got bored and I told her that I wanted to learn sewing, but I was kind of scared. She said 'okay, we'll take it kind of slow.' We started out slow, putting everything together, threads through the machine, and seeing how the machine worked, and then I learned how to sow."

AJ said it took her about ten minutes to learn how to sew, and that her brother Five, a freshman at DMA, has also gotten involved.

"We did 39 [Friday]. We don't have too much of a big goal, but we want to try and take as much fabric as we can and make as many masks as we can to get them out there."

The Kuratles aren't spending all of their time sewing, DMA quickly instituted virtually learning, so there's still schoolwork to be done, and AJ said she's even learning a lesson in time-management.

"So I have to keep up with school every day, but in my free time I try my best to help my mom out. But I'm multitasking when I'm sewing, I'll take five minute break to do some homework the best I can, and get back to sewing, so we can get the most we can out there."

AJ said she'll be proud to see the masks she helped creating being put to important use.

"It makes me feel like a better person knowing that I'm helping out the community and try to prevent this virus from spreading."

And perhaps just as satisfying, AJ knows she's got a new life skill, one that she shares with her mother now.

"Me and my Mom have realized that it's a great bonding time, we just sit there talk for hours-on-hours and it feels like it's not even hours, it goes by so fast."

Schools might be closed, but it appears AJ Kuratle passed her home-in, Home-Ec class, to the benefit of some lucky nursing home employees.