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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Isaac Anderson swims his way to greatness

Peter Stefo --- Eagle Staff Writer

Entrepreneur, innovator, swimmer: that's junior Isaac Anderson. Whether cranking out laps around the pool or designing new threads for friends and classmates, Anderson brings energy and creativity to everything he does - beginning with his t-shirt business.

Anderson owns and operates Construct Reality, a custom t-shirt printing business. "Past projects have consisted of making t-shirts for my friends and classmates," he explained.

Isaac Anderson in a shirt he created. (Courtesy photo)

Anderson has been making shirts since he was 14 years old. “When I was 14, I started to browse Pinterest and was interested by [custom] shirts that said things like 'I got pegged at Cracker Barrel.' Those stemmed my creativity and I created shirts on my own but made them funny,” he said.

Anderson’s reason for making these hilarious is pretty self explanatory. "They make me laugh and sometimes my friends laugh too,” he says.

Many people wonder how he makes these shirts, but it is not nearly as complicated as you'd think. “ I bought a machine that routes the designs from the computer onto a sheet of heat transfer vinyl, then I iron the HTV to a shirt or pants or something like that,” Anderson explains.

Amusing shirts aren’t the only great ideas that Anderson has come up with. "Now I have larger goals, one of which is to turn recycled PET water bottles into 3D printer filament as a way to reuse the plastics and incentivize recycling,” he explains.

Recycling these bottles and protecting the environment is something that is very important to Anderson.”If every bottle thrown out takes 140 years to completely be back into nature, the constant piling of one onto another will eventually overwhelm the environments that we live in and all of nature as well. Without nature, we're toast,” Anderson proclaims.

This is something Anderson has thought long and hard about. “I've done some research into ways to reuse the plastics. One way that I found is using the hotend from a disassembled 3D printer to make the plastics soft enough to bend into the shape of a feedable filament for the 3D printers,” he explains.

He has plans for incentivizing use of recycled plastic filament as well. ”Sculptures could be made out of the bottles to potentially reward classrooms and individuals who were the most proactive in donating bottles to the cause,” Anderson says.

Fun statues aren’t the only plans Anderson has for the recycled bottles. ”Another project that I have in mind that would hopefully be created out of mostly recycled material would be an aeroponic garden - one that doesn't use soil and is a tower. The plants stay in cups on the side of the tower and are fed a nutrient-rich solution until they're ready to harvest... In this system you can also control the amount of water, the climate, and the amount of sunlight, essentially enabling you to create a lot of great quality vegetables, very quickly."

Isaac Anderson breaks the surface. (Courtesy photo)

The project will require an enormous number of bottles, but it beats seeing them end up in landfills. "The build would probably require around 5,000 grams of filament, that's somewhere in the range of 1750-2000 bottles (the average 16.9 oz ones)."

Anderson has plans for all that produce, too. "If we could recycle the appropriate amounts of plastic to create [an aeroponic garden], we could also support a local food bank with about 400 pounds of food every month,” he explains.

Anderson is no stranger to water. He's been a competitive swimmer since 2019. "My dad made me play something that wasn't Fortnite,” he explains.

A good rivalry is the best motivator for any sport, and Anderson has found swimming is no exception. ”My biggest challenge in swimming is Robby Votta; he is my biggest [opponent] but I love him so much because we are best buds."

Swimming is a difficult sport and is especially challenging for newbies, as Anderson can attest. ”The advice I give to new swimmers who are genuinely passionate is that they have to be ready to suck at something, especially if they're completely new. If they continue to show up and give it their all, they'll begin to see improvements after about three months of work,” he explained.

Isaac Anderson clearly has on his "Thinking Quack." (courtesy photo)

It's this can-do attitude that has made Isaac Anderson a successful business owner, environmental innovator, and athlete. If any of he can bring any of his plans to fruition, they will surely make the world a better place.

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