PJC students' final project gets A+ in changing lives

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PARIS, Tex. (KXII) -- "I've never had a prosthetic, so for me to actually make a prosthetic and then it actually be my own, it was a great experience," said Paris Junior College student Ladreyus Ashley.

He and Ian Headley are students in the Computer Aided Design program, learning about the uses of 3D printing.

"It prints out layer by layer, about .2 milimeters and it just prints it out," said Headley.

Ashley is overcoming his own set of challenges as well.

He was born with a partial left limb and only part of a hand.

"When you're born without it, you never miss it," said Ashley.

For their final project, the two decided to build Ashley a prosthetic hand and put their skills to the ultimate test.

"It's definitely taking some adjustment but it's actually great, like I like it a lot," said Ashley.

It's a project that's personal for both Ashley and Headley.

"I'm a veteran so I've had friends that have lost a lot of stuff," said Headley.

Through a nonprofit called E-NABLE, they found a design that fit Ashley's needs and modified it to the correct size.

"Being able to sit here with him every day and watch the process from the very first time he put it on, it was just awkward and clumsy, to now, I mean, I've watched him pick up cups full of, you know, 3D printed parts and walk around with it, take a drink of water," said Headley. "It's actually been kind of amazing."

Ashley says the program changed his life in ways he never expected and gave him something he didn't know he needed.

"It helps, but I definitely learned to do things my way," said Ashley.

Now he wants to spend his career paying it forward.

"Definitely being able to help someone else who feels like they can't, that they can't live everyday life like a normal person because they need some type of assistance so I definitely want to be a part of that, being able to help," said Ashley.

He plans to get a degree from the University of North Texas in engineering after graduating with his Associate's this weekend.