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Citrus Heights 7th grader turns 3D printing into entrepreneurial venture

Sylvan Middle School 7th-grader Hyrum McFadyn, pictured in the San Juan Unified School District’s newsletter.

By Rylie Friesen
Sylvan Middle School student Hyrum McFadyn has been using 3D printing skills he learned in the school’s STEM Engineering class for an entrepreneurial venture that is drawing attention.

According to an article in the San Juan Scene, a monthly publication by the San Juan Unified School District, Hyrum gets to work after school and charges $5 an hour for various 3D printing projects. Money earned is put into maintaining the school’s printers, as well as purchasing materials. He has two other student assistants.

“Hyrum is at the next level,” said the school’s vice principal, Jeff Jungk. “[H]e’s actually going into a system that allows him to, from scratch, design what he wants, how big, how small, what shape and then print it.”

The district says 3D printing is what drew Hyrum to Sylvan Middle School. After showing both interest and potential to his teachers, he gained access to the “clean room” in his school. He also sparked interest in some of the middle school’s clubs.

“I’ve printed a gear for RC Club and I’m working on printing a bulkhead for their cars and a wheelie bar wheel,” Hyrum is quoted saying in the article.

“Other kids are starting to want to do this and they’re joining him and he’s helping other teachers incorporate this into their classes,” said Jungk. “The biggest benefit is the interest he is generating.”

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Sylvan Middle School offers an elective STEM Engineering class where students can learn about 3D printing. The school has a pair of 3D printers in its clean room, along with other high-tech equipment.

The district says Hyrum spends a lot of time working on his projects in the clean room, including “hours after school, as well as club meeting times and during his first-period class.”

“Who knows where this will go,” said Jungk. “It’s still pretty new. We haven’t had anybody yet that really wanted to take it this far, but we’re ecstatic that he’s doing it.”

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