A life-saving hobby

Teacher takes personal time to make masks for colleagues and kids


Kelsey Jones

Speech and broadcast teacher Sara Berghoff is pictured making masks for her family. She takes time to make her masks in her at-home office.

When speech and broadcast teacher Sara Berghoff’s husband started having to wear a mask to work, they could not find masks anywhere. She started making them for him, then as time went on, Berghoff understood that masks would become a necessity for everyone around her to wear as well.
At the very beginning of COVID-19 safety procedures, masks were not readily available. When Berghoff realized that masks were going to become significant for everyone she continuously updated the style of her masks and the processes she goes through to make the masks to see what would work best for her and different people she would be making them for.
“As it became clearer that masks were going to become important, I continually refined my style and process,” Berghoff said.
What started off as just making masks for her husband turned to making masks for herself, her kids and everyone she was close with. Berghoff has made masks for many teachers at SHS, including English teachers Dawn Fowerbaugh and Jessi Walpole.
Luckily, with the help of social media and her sister, Berghoff was able to get different patterns and different designs that she liked to print off. She was able to sew the designs that she printed off. Berghoff says she numbers off each of the masks she makes so she knows which one she is working on.
A friend of hers had bought some masks that tie around your head, and when Berghoff saw them, she learned how they were made and decided that it was the style she wanted to start making. Berghoff started making her masks this way to give herself more room to breathe and to be able to speak clearly without the masks falling down or off her face.
Fowerbaugh says this specific style of masks that Berghoff makes helps her throughout her day because she doesn’t have to fully take it off, she can just pull it down and it stays on her neck.
“It has ties on it so you can take it off and it just stays around your neck, that’s what is nice about the kind that she made it so that it just stays on you,” Fowerbaugh said.
Berghoff still makes regular masks with earloops, but she feels the ones that tie are more comfortable for wearing all day. She says that the masks that tie are better for wearing all day because while talking they don’t fall down and they are big enough to be comfortable and still have room to breath.
Walpole says that the masks Berghoff made for her are enjoyable to wear because they are soft and secure, still leaving room to be able to breathe.
“They’re really comfortable and lightweight and big enough where I don’t feel like they’re falling off or there’s a lot of space on the cheeks,” Walpole said.
Berghoff made masks of adult and kid sizes for other SHS teachers and their kids. Walpole says she likes that Berghoff has kid friendly masks. Walpole’s daughter also enjoys the masks Berghoff makes, and she wears them almost every day to school.
“I really do think that a lot of people are wearing masks that don’t fit their face well and that’s why they are so uncomfortable in them,” Berghoff said. “Everybody I think just needs to go up a size to keep it from falling off their nose all the time. If people are really uncomfortable in the masks then they should find one that fits their face better.”