Start your day with a smile.

Sign up for Morning Smile to get good news in your inbox daily!

Sign Up Now!

High Schooler Creates Prosthetic For Classmate So She Can Play In Marching Band.

All Tabetha Noel-Ratcliff wanted to do was play in the marching band.

The 15-year-old Northwest High School freshman has practiced the French horn for years and was eager to switch to the mellophone, a similar instrument musicians prefer for marching. But her right hand wasn’t quite up to the task.


WFAA

Tabetha was born with symbrachydactyly, which means she has full control over her right arm, but her hand and fingers aren’t completely developed. Among other things, the condition makes managing an instrument while moving extremely difficult. “It’s a little more bumps, up and down,” she said. “Makes it harder to play, and also it’s just harder to balance.”

Her band director noticed her struggle and appealed to the school’s STEM-focused robotics teacher, who knew the perfect student to reach out to. Clark Strong, who had never met Tabetha, has been involved in 3-D printing ever since his grandfather introduced him to it years ago. The 16-year-old quickly agreed to take on the project without receiving class credit for it.


WFAA

Clark studied the way Tabetha played and designed a prosthetic to help her balance her instrument. He then used the 3-D printer he has at home to produce the hard plastic device.

Tabetha now uses the tool whenever she plays, and she’s thrilled that she can finally pursue her passion. “If there weren’t people that did stuff out of the kindness of their heart, I wouldn’t have a prosthetic,” she said. “I wouldn’t be doing as good in band.”


WFAA

Seeing Tabetha march during football games is also special for Clark. “To know that you’re able to help someone, it’s very rewarding,” he said.

The feeling is even stronger because he can’t watch her without thinking of his grandfather. “He passed away a little over a year ago,” Clark said. “It has been very helpful to be able to sort of carry on his legacy in this 3-D printing. And it’s kind of why I keep doing it: to be able to help others, but to also honor him.”


WFAA

What a moving legacy! All it took was a spark to ignite this smart student’s mind, and then he used his talent to solve a problem. We can help so many by paying attention to the needs of the people around us!

Please share this story to encourage more selfless acts of kindness.


Share your story & inspire the world.
If you have an uplifting story we would love to hear about it! Share it with us here.

Report Post

Want more good news like this in your inbox? Sign up for Morning Smile to start your day with news that will make you smile.