“They ended up offering me, like, ‘We could build your prosthetic hand,’ and I never expected it, like, never in a million years.”

Being the ‘new kid’ in high school is nerve wracking for anybody. For Sergio Peralta, starting at Hendersonville High School near Nashville, Tennessee was especially intimidating. Sergio was trying to hide a secret, a physical deformity that he worried might make him stand out.

Sergio’s right hand never fully developed, and speaking to CBS News, Peralta said that on his first day of school he “honestly felt like hiding” his hand in his sleeve– “like nobody would ever find out.”

However, once they did, their heartwarming response was the opposite of what Sergio expected.

A Group of Teens Rise to the Occasion

Using the schools engineering department, a group of students decided to try and help Sergio by designing and building a prosthetic hand for him. Jeff Wilkins, the school’s engineering teacher, first approached Peralta to let him know that his classmates were willing to help. Three students decided to use their knowledge of emerging 3D printing technology, and their access to online models of prostheses to create a plan. After just four short weeks, their project was complete, and the life of Peralta was changed forever.

“They ended up offering me, like, ‘We could build your prosthetic hand,’ and I never expected it,” Peralta told CBS News, “Like, never in a million years.”

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Henderson High’s principal, Bob Cotter, said the project was a testament to the students’ care and dedication to the program.

One of the students involved, Leslie Jaramillo, commented on the project, remarking that it captured the spirit of engineering they were taught. “You’re supposed to be engineering, coming up with new ideas, solving issues,” Jaramillo said. “Just making things better than how they used to be.”

Compassion Is So Powerful

However, this was much more than an inconsequential school project or engineering exercise. Rarely do school project’s have such a practical impact, and Peralta’s life was significantly improved by his fellow students. For the first time in his life, Peralta was able to catch a baseball with his right hand – something that thrilled his classmates.

“When I caught it for the first time, everyone started freaking out,” Peralta remembers. “It was the first time I caught a ball with my right hand in 15 years.”

This story highlights the transformative power of kindness and the positive impact it can have on an individual. It also emphasizes the importance of a supportive community, and the difference we can make collectively. Sergio Peralta’s classmates came together and positively changed his life– their compassion, and selfless willingness to help are an inspiration to people of any age.

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