Yellow Springs senior helps community with face mask class project

A Yellow Springs High School senior is on her way to getting a stellar grade on her senior project, in addition to helping the entire community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kayla Ross won’t graduate until 2021, but her senior project has already taken off and gotten the attention of city officials and people around the community. Ross has designed dozens of locally-themed face masks and has sold more than 100 orders in the first two days of business.

All the proceeds will be donated back to Yellow Springs Schools — a fact that might not hurt Ross’s chances of getting an A+ on the project.

>> Glen Helen agreement reached, nature preserve to reopen

“She started thinking, ‘If we have to wear masks, some kids are going to be afraid.’ So she wanted to make something positive out of it,” said Ross’s mother, Kathy Kern-Ross.

Ross’s idea started coming together months ago, before beginning to brainstorm on a senior project. With spare time to get creative during quarantine at the end of the school, Ross originally planned on the mask project to be a private fundraiser.

It’s since blossomed into a senior project that seems to have no finish line.

“Everybody has been so positive and supportive,” Kern-Ross said. “We’ve even heard from the Chamber of Commerce in Yellow Springs and they’re going to try to put a link on their website.”

As Ross’s project grows, she has expanded designs to include specific occupations, school clubs, sports teams, Black Lives Matter, the Yellow Springs community and more.

Ross is working with the company she partnered with to create a separate web page to include requested masks designs from students and the community, with all proceeds still going back to the school.

As the senior expands her clientele in the name of the fundraiser, Ross also made masks for the members of the Springfield Symphony, where her father is the executive director.

>>Yellow Springs first Ohio community to require masks by law

“I think it’s really made Kayla feel good to know that people think that this is a cool idea. Even people she doesn’t know are encouraging the project,” Kern-Ross said. “With all of (the) things that are going on right now, to have… people cooperating and getting behind it and supporting it, it allows you to focus on some positive.”

To add more elements to her senior project, Ross will be in charge of finances, orders and keeping track of how many masks were ordered by teams, clubs and teachers so money raised can go directly back to them.

Ross's machine-washable masks are sold at $10 each and can be found at

About the Author