Graduation gifts come in all shapes and sizes.

From trinkets to keepsakes, from jewelry to cars, and even cold, hard cash.

When Zoe Zerman graduated from Northern Lebanon in 2017, she got a sewing machine. But no laughing from the peanut gallery; that’s what she wanted.

Zerman, a basketball standout who is now finishing up her junior year at Kutztown University, took a family consumer sciences class at Northern Lebanon, and her favorite course, as it turned out, was sewing.

“I told my aunt that I wanted a sewing machine for graduation,” Zerman said. “And she got me one.”

These days, Zerman is putting her trusty sewing machine to good use. The third-leading scorer in Northern Lebanon girls basketball history, with 1,419 career points during her prep days, Zerman is making and donating masks to help fight the spread of coronavirus.

She’s made masks for her family and friends around Lebanon, and she’s distributed masks to some nursing friends, who have donated them to medical facilities in Hershey and Philadelphia.

“I certainly wouldn’t call myself a sewing pro,” Zerman said, “but I definitely get the satisfaction out of making something that people need right now. I’m trying to get the masks to people who really need them.”

Zerman has hit a brief snag in her mask-making production; she’s running low on supplies, including fabric and elastic. She has plenty of thread and needles, but she’s having a hard time finding fabric and elastic items either in stores or online.

Zerman also sews T-shirt blankets, pajamas and letter-shirts for her sorority and fraternity friends at Kutztown. But when she can restock her supplies, she said, she’ll continue making masks for those in need.

“I know I want to get back to school and be able to just go to the store again, and definitely play basketball again soon — everything,” Zerman said. “These masks are essential because we need to help the people who are trying to help us get this virus out of here, so we can all get back to normal.”


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