‘Anything can be reused’: Longtime volunteer ‘Cubby’ helps create Makerspace at Zephyr Cove Elementary

Ashleigh Goodwin /
Cubby costume rests on looms used to make rugs in the Makerspace classroom.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — What once started as a parent volunteering for his daughter’s third grade class has morphed into the Makerspace at Zephyr Cove Elementary School.

Pedro Kinner, better known as Cubby, has been volunteering with ZCES for the last 26 years. 

Kinner dresses up in his ‘Cubby’ suite every morning to welcome the children to school. 

Pedro Dinner holding the costume head for Cubby in Makerspace classroom.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Cubby is the warm, fuzzy, welcoming, loveable bear who brings smiles to the kids from the very start of the day. 

Nine years ago, the dedicated volunteer brought in looms and began a weaving with an art class. The art class morphed into what is now known as Makerspace with the help of the previous administrative team and former teacher Brenda Capshaw, who has since retired. Administrative support came from former Principal Sean Lear, and Assistant Principal Sean Ryan. Ryan is the current ZCES principal.

Pine needle and wood woven baskets created by students in Makerspace.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune describes a makerspace as a collaborative workspace inside a school, library or separate public/private facility for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools.

The ZCES Makerspace is complete with many tools for the kids to enjoy during recess or set times scheduled by the teachers. The technology ranges from high tech to no tech including a 3D printer, 3D pens, computer equipment and 3D building programs such as Tinkercad. 

Pedro Dinner helps a student find a puzzle template for a 3D printer project on the first day of school
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Low or no tech items are also abundant in the makerspace including the numerous weaving looms Kinner has acquired, a typewriter, electronics donated for the kids to take apart and rebuild while unplugged, and other basic art supplies. 

“Anything can be recycled and reused,” Kinner said and encourages kids to explore, learn, build, and expand their brains in any way they can imagine regardless of the technology involved. 

The ZCES makerspace allows the melding of creativity with learning. One of the skills the kids will be learning this year is map reading. With the use of the 3D printer and family history Kinner started a new project this year in honor of the Oregon Trail. 

Pedro Kinner ‘Cubby’ explains the latitude and longitude display in the hallway.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

The project’s inspiration is thanks to Kinner’s family ties to the party who took the first trail over the Carson Pass in 1848. Kinner told the Tribune his ancestors Lambert and Hannah McCombs took the trek with guide James Clyman. Clyman is famous for discovering the south pass and telling the Donner Party they were too late in 1846, according to Kinner.

The Oregon Trail has been recreated in the form of a display on the hallway wall. Miniature topographical maps, the size of a deck of cards, were printed with the exact latitude and longitude numbers for the trail using school’s 3D printer. Kinner then secured the individual sections of the trial to a large piece of Naugahyde. All the pieces were then attached with Velcro and identified by latitude and longitude on the backs. 

None of this would be possible without volunteer opportunities. Jessica Schnoll, President of the ZCES Parent Club implores the community to volunteer where they can.

Schnoll said, “The ZCES Parents Club hosts a bunch of different events throughout the school year to fundraise and bring the school community together. We are always looking for volunteers to help us with these events, but also with our new Grow Dome/Compost Committee.” 

Applications are available at ZCES or online for anyone interested in volunteering with the school district. For safety, vetting occurs prior to interfacing with the children by way of background checks and fingerprinting.

Kinner requests that anyone interested in donating to the makerspace contact the front office to be put into direct contact. 

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