Fergus Falls Kennedy Secondary School (KSS) student Destiny Maanum is on a creative pursuit. Made possible by a company called the Twisted Pen Factory, Maanum creates pens of all sorts of varying shapes and colors every Friday morning.

During a recent interview with Maanum, she demonstrated the way she makes the pens. She began by heating up plastic in a small heating mechanism. “It’s heating up right now so we can put it in the mold,” she explained, “we have to wait for two minutes.”

She then used specific clamps that formed the plastic into a palm-tree shape, using pressure to hold the plastic in place as it hardened and cooled.

“Always have your gloves on,” she joked.

Sometimes Maanum gets to choose the designs that she makes for the day, “and then sometimes we have a special order,” she said.

“We bring them down to the Otter Outlet,” she explained, describing what happens once her pens are complete. People can purchase Maanum’s pens at the Otter Outlet and choose colorful, fun designs including houses, palm trees, apples, stars, hearts, motorcycles, dinosaurs, treble clefs, whale tails, dolphins and more.

“I like the whale tail and the treble clef,” said Maanum. The list of available shapes goes on and on, but Maanum is all for getting more designs. “It’s just fun to get new molds.”

She has spent hours making pens and has ideas about what molds should be added to the selection. “I think it would be cool if they had an otter,” she suggested.

The colors Maanum uses for the pens represent different causes. Purple is in support of children with disabilities, pink is for breast cancer awareness, green is for mental health awareness and yellow is for the military.

“I like the color pink,” she said, “and purple.”

Maanum explained that it’s fun to make different designs and see all of the various shapes. She shared that she feels creative when she makes the pens and enjoys getting orders.

“These ones we made by ourselves,” she said, showcasing a pen that she designed herself.

The cost of the pens are $2 each, with a small increase in price for pens with custom sayings.

Andrew Kowalski, a special education teacher at KSS explained how the profits from the pen sales are used. “We are looking at taking special education work experience students — transition age students — on field trips to businesses that they may be interested in for future employment,” he said. “This would pay for bussing and any expenses that would be needed.”

Maanum started creating pens last year, and enjoyed the process right away. “It’s relaxing,” she said. She explained that it “feels good” to see people buying her pens — she feels proud.

“This will provide work experience opportunities for budgeting, as well as provide students with many other business experiences,” said Kowalski. Students learn skills like organizing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and fine-motor skills through Twisted Pen.

Kwoalski, Maanum and paraprofessional Amanda Anderson believe it would be wonderful to expand into other stores in Fergus Falls. “If there is interest, other businesses could contact us if they would like to sell our products — taking a percentage,” explained Kowalski, “or purchase unique pens for their business.”

For information or to order pens, contact the district office at 998-0544 Ext. 9006 or visit the Otter Outlet in KSS, open 7:30-8:30 a.m., 9:15-10:05 a.m. and 12:30-1:20 p.m.

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