Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

may Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind 2008 Page 2 Superintendent s Message Page 3 Academic Bowl Page 4 USDB Choir & Pop Can Tabs Page 5 Student Spotlights Page 6 Easter Activity & Early Literacy
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may Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind 2008 Page 2 Superintendent s Message Page 3 Academic Bowl Page 4 USDB Choir & Pop Can Tabs Page 5 Student Spotlights Page 6 Easter Activity & Early Literacy Page 7 Football Dream comes True Page Junior Blind Olympics Page 10 Images around USDB Page 11 Gearld Wright Blooms & Student Profiles Page 12 A Chance to Compete & New USDB Website Page 13 USDB History Page 14 Hints for hot Weather Page 15 Employees of the month & Congrats to Grads Page 16 IT Blurb & Did You Know? The Editorial Board of Sights & Sounds The Editorial Board of The Sights & Sounds Newsletter publishes newsworthy articles of value subject to their approval. Articles may be edited and/or condensed for content or omitted due to space limitations. The Editorial Board reserves the right to refuse any articles. Please refer all inquiries to The Public Relations Office. GRADUATION TIME Few events in life can match the excitement and anticipation, which is generated by high school graduation. It has become an important rite of passage for most students in our society. Family and friends look forward to this time-honored day from the time children begin their educational career. It is not different for USDB and the students who will complete their high school education with graduation. There have been many ups and downs, successes and disappointments, happiness and sadness, yet the ultimate positive is earning a place in personal history, which is one s own graduation. Graduation around our state is held in many different places and takes many different forms. Some are formal, traditional events and others are more casual and light-hearted. There are, however, some commonalities among them. First, participation in graduation ceremonies is a privilege, not a right. Students must earn the right to participate by adhering to academic and behavioral standards set by their particular school. Second, graduation exercises are focused on the graduating seniors. It is their day to shine, and any other participants need to keep their remarks short and keep the focus where it belongs. This applies to school administrators, invited guests and school board members. Third, audience members, no matter how joyful or proud they are of their particular senior, need to respect the dignity of the occasion. Enthusiastic applause lets the graduate know how proud they have made us without detracting from the graduation ceremonies. Cat calls, bullhorns, whoops and hollers, whistles, etc. are best kept for sporting events. Even doggedly determined family photographers can be disruptive in their quest for the perfect shot. There will be plenty of time after the ceremonies to record the event for posterity. As spring graduation ceremonies approach, let s all take a deep breath and resolve to shape our behavior for the common good of all the graduates by respecting the dignity of the occasion. Let s give our seniors an example they can follow when in just a few short years they will be preparing for the graduation of their own children. I salute the following students for rising to the title of Graduate: Hobie D. Collins, Blake A. Galbraith, Tiesha Shauntai Gavin, Christina L. Graziano, Whitney K. James, Douglas A. Mecham, Jr., Terrence M. Melkonian, Assad Mihitawi, Mathew J. Nelson, Quinnten Price, Clarissa L. Reed and Diamond Scott Reid. - Timothy W. Smith, Superintendent We are in the fifth year with the Academic Bowl. A team of three brave girls, Nina Taggart, captain, Melissa Mischo, and Kyra Walker, put in a lot of practice time and energy into soaking up knowledge and using their brains with quick-fire answers. At the end of February 2008, the three girls with Kristi Mortensen the head coach and Ron Nelson, assistant coach, traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the Western Academic Bowl competition. The girls were surprised at their newfound talent as a three-girl team against many five-person teams by scoring high, but not enough to win. Many individuals, coaches, and spectators were amazed at the USD girls for their strengths, sanity, and pleasantness. Normally there are five members per team, and one would sit with the coach while four members compete. The five-member teams have more opportunities to rest their brains by switching with the player sitting with the coach. The USD girls did not have a break during all-day matches. The USD girls were worn out but they kept their sanity and carried on with great dignity. The coach and assistant coach of USD are so proud of these girls! The girls are already rolling up their sleeves to study harder and develop new tricks as a possible 3-member team so they can win matches next year. However, the girls are hoping for two more members to join them by August The practices will begin in September The goal of the Academic Bowl members is to have an early start in practicing, so they can train their brains to absorb a lot of information and be able to remember it and answer all questions correctly and quickly. of Hearing on Mondays from 4 to 6 pm. If you know of a student under the Utah School for the Deaf or in a full-time mainstreamed program in their public school, they are more than welcome to join! The student has to be between their freshman year and senior year in For more information you may contact Kristi Mortensen, Academic Bowl coach, by at, or contact any Program Director in the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. (Some restrictions apply.) By Kristi L. Mortensen, coach Our school choir continues to improve. They were a huge hit at the Veteran s Program to honor the Veteran s in the Ogden area. The Choir consists of upper elementary, middle and high school students from our school. Our new choir president is Kimberly Ashton. She is a gifted singer and great student leader. She and her brother, David have performed on several special occasions throughout the state. The student s have been working hard mastering new music. USDB Choir performed at graduation to honor this year s USDB graduates. The students did a wonderful job and really shined. Candis Clayton and Kim Hadley co-directed the performance. Lois Ann Ward was the accompanist. Graduation was May 15th at the Ogden USDB campus. By Kim Hadley The girls, Nina Taggart of Skyline High School, Kyra Walker of Skyline High School, and Melissa Mischo of Bingham High School, all agreed that participating in the Academic Bowl competition brings richness into their lives. They gained friends from teams in other states. Each year, 16 different deaf school programs participate in the competition. Next year the competition will be held at the Fremont School for the Deaf in California. The girls are anxious to return and meet their newfound friends they made in Colorado Springs. The girls said, When we met them, we became friends for life. We are excited to see them again. My English class at Skyline High School was studying the Holocaust during third quarter. We all didn t comprehend what 6 million Jews killed meant--the number itself. We decided to embark on a quest to find out just that. We began collecting pop can tabs from different people throughout Utah and even outside of Utah. Our aim was 6 million pop can tabs. We have collected 140,292 so far. The students are starting to see the big picture of what the Nazis did during WWII. The deadline for the tabs is May 30, less than a month left! After the deadline, we will take all the pop can tabs to the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City and donate them. Thanks to everyone who has donated to our project!!! We are aiming for two more members to join the USD Academic Bowl team. The practices are always held at the Sanderson Community Center for the Deaf and Hard 3 4 By Amber Patterson One of our former USDB South self-contained students, Raquel Turner, has been mainstreamed in Nebo District for the past five years. She is currently served by Glenda Collins, a USDB consultant. Raquel is a very successful fifth grader with exceptional potential and a myriad of talents and abilities. Raquel is a profoundly deaf young lady who received a cochlear implant as a toddler. She attended USD preschool and kindergarten before being mainstreamed into her neighborhood school. Well (drum roll please) Raquel has accepted the nomination as Utah Speech and Hearing Association (USHA) Ambassador for the coming year. She was recently honored at a luncheon in Salt Lake at USHA s annual convention where she was able to share a few of her many talents. She wowed the crowd with a traditional Mexican dance for the lucky luncheon attendees. Raquel loves to paint and do handiwork and was able to bring samples of those talents to share at the luncheon as well. She also gave a short speech for those present. We wouldn t be surprised if everyone she meets falls in love with her as we have! By Glenda Collins USDB Parent Infant Program of St. George held a remarkable Easter Family Activity this April. Activity advertising was done through the Family to Family Network and PIP St. George and was held in Coral Canyon at Highland Park. An exciting Easter egg hunt was held on three separate lawn areas and a cement patio where children in wheelchairs could search for eggs. Community support was wonderful! Snow Canyon High School stuffed all of the eggs and various businesses donated prizes including snow cones, stuffed animals and t-shirts. Several mothers of PIP children volunteered to help organize the activity and surely made this event a success! There was a great turn out for the activity and families were able to visit, get to know each other and find common ground with their children. If you missed the PIP Family Activity mentioned in this article but would like to participate in upcoming PIP events, contact the Parent Infant Program office at (801) for local information. PIP events offer a great opportunity for parents and families to network and get to know other families involved with USDB. Hope to see you there! Hannah Mecham is an 8th grader at North Ogden Junior High School (NOJH). This energetic gal loves the outdoors and staying active. Hannah lives with her mom, dad, two brothers, one sister and two dogs. Hannah has a full schedule that keeps her busy both day and night. Her favorite pastime this year has been being a part of the NOJH softball team. Hannah plays outfield. Her coach says she has a great glove, always hustles and her teammates love her. Hannah is not finished yet! She is also playing basketball and participating on the track team! Good luck Hannah, we ll keep an eye out for you! By Greg Messerschmidt 5 Hunter loves story time with his mom and dad. It is a fun learning time they share together. They enjoy tactually exploring, listening, and looking at books. Exposing two year old Hunter to early literacy experiences has been very important to Hunter s parents, Emily and Bryson. Story time at Hunter s home has been a daily occurrence since he was very small. Even though Hunter and his mom regularly have story time, Emily was looking for a means where Hunter could more fully participate. Hunter has been diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment. At times, this makes looking, understanding, and fully enjoying the story a little more difficult. Hunter s Early Intervention Vision Consultant, Jamie Brown, introduced Hunter and his parents to the idea of Story Boxes. Jamie shared information on Story Boxes compiled by Suzy Newbold with Hunter s parents. What are Story Boxes? Story boxes are a magical medium that can jump-start the literacy process in a tactile way. (Newbold) It is simply a collection of items in a box or bag that corresponds to the items mentioned in a story. 6 A Story Box is a way for young children with a visual impairment to experience a story. Hunter s parents were anxious to begin a Story Box library for Hunter. This all started coming together several months before Christmas, a time when family members are always asking what gifts they should buy for Hunter. The idea arose to ask family members to create Story Boxes for gifts. Emily ed extended family members and explained the how and why of using Story Boxes. When Christmas time came around, Hunter received several Story Boxes to begin his Story Box library. Now, Hunter and his parents regularly read and explore the story boxes together. Hunter is able to have a tactile way to experience literacy and obtain meaningful information. Both Hunter and his parents enjoy their time together reading stories. By Jamie Brown Henry David Thoreau said, Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake. For one special player so it was on a crisp October night in Grantsville, Utah as the Cowboys hosted their archrival, the Morgan Trojans. Friday s football game would determine a 2nd place finish in Region 11 and a State first-round game at home. As serious as all this was, something more meaningful happened Friday night, which transcends the lives of each soul present long after the winner of the game, is forgotten. Photo By Maegan Burr Collin Jefferies contracted meningitis when he was only seven months old which lead to a series of strokes that paralyzed his right arm, right leg and cost him his hearing. These deficits may have made others shrink when it comes to participating in athletics, but not so for Collin. My first run-in with him was in the Jr. Jazz leagues playing basketball. I have watched this young man take challenge after challenge head on ever since. When Collin couldn t play sports he managed them, and a better manager you could never find. His service is personal and his teammates appreciate his heart-felt attention. Collin loves his teammates and they love him - and it shows. His letterman jacket was a gift from the team and is adorned with multiple Grantsville Letters in football, basketball, and track, which he earned, by the sweat of his brow and with undying tenacity and courage. as he had done so many times before. But this night was different this night Cowboy Stadium became Collin s Field of Dreams. For one brief moment, it wasn t about winning or losing. It was about preparing young men for the lives they must lead after football and high school are long gone. It was about the answer of Collin Jefferies prayer, through an inspired coach, loving teammates, and a very understanding opponent. When Collin ran onto the field it was one of those moments in life that stand still the vision of it touches your heart and soul changing your life toward a more glorious and lofty purpose. With both sides of the field on their feet and the student body gathered on the track behind, Collin s chanted name echoed throughout the stadium. Not since Rudy s triumphant play at Notre Dame has there been a football moment quite like this. Collin responded to the challenge with the same fervor he approached all the challenges thus far in his life. Standing at tailback next to his quarterback Logan Paulich, Collin finished his last home game with four rushes for 24 yards and a spectacular one-handed pass reception for an additional 11 yards. In five plays Collin gained three first downs and 35 yards for his team. That Friday night you didn t have to read about it, hear about it or watch it on TV. That Friday night you got to live it and witness a moment normally relegated to movies and fairytales. As I watched the vision unfold before me, tears welled up in my eyes and streamed down my face. Never have I been so honored to announce a player s name. During the post-game huddle, timeless words were shared and #1 Collin Jefferies was hoisted upon the shoulders of his teammates and carried off into immortality. He now rightfully takes his place in Grantsville High School folklore forever a Cowboy! Editors Note: David Gumucio is an award winning outdoor and sports writer for many publications throughout the country. He abridged this particular story from a column he had written in the Tooele Transcript Bulletin. We thank them for sharing this with us. By David Gumucio Los Angeles will never be the same! On April 26th, thirty-one blind or low vision students from all areas of Utah converged upon sunny L.A. to participate in the Jr. Blind Olympics! Over 800 students, volunteers and family members attended this inspirational event from around the western United States including Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. Boys and girls, ages took the long bus ride from Utah to Los Angeles to compete in Olympic style events adapted for the blind including the 100 yard dash, long jump, goalball, archery, shot put, rowing, and rock climbing at the beautiful Junior Blind of America facility. The Junior Blind Olympics is the premier event for blind or visually impaired athletes from across the country, who were given the opportunity to push their physical abilities and achieve their goals. Each of our students participated with our true Team Utah spirit as they strived to push their limit! And that they did! Our students did us proud by bringing home numerous gold, silver and bronze medals, along with wonderful memories! Just ask any one of the students who participated, and they will tell you, WE WANT TO GO AGAIN NEXT YEAR!!! Of course, we couldn t go to L.A. without doing some site seeing, or should I say visits to the best of the best adventure parks! We visited Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain, enjoying the rides, shows and the thrills of adventure. By the end of the trip, we were all sunburned, exhausted, and stoked! Our thanks go to the Optimist Club of L.A. for sponsoring our trip, covering our hotel arrangements, a trip to an amusement park and offsetting the cost of transportation! A thank you to the wonderful teachers, USDB staff members and Orientation & Mobility Specialists that made up the chaperone list; not only for giving their time and dedication but providing teaching moments throughout the trip. Thank you! To all of you who so generously supported the USDB fund raising events that allowed this trip to be a reality, a kudos to each of you! We could not have done it without your generous support. Enjoy the pictures! But please, look closely at the faces and you ll see why this trip is worth it! Here s to next year.!! By Carolyn Kwallek-Cook Collin has had a jersey and been on the varsity football roster for several years. He has never missed a game, practice, or team meeting. His secret dream was to play varsity football - his loving Coach, Tony Cloward, and his teammates decided to help make his dream come true. Running onto the field for the last home game of the season came the Cowboys, lead by non-other than #1, senior Collin Jefferies, fully adorned in battle attire. He led the team in warm-ups. When it was time for senior night, a beautiful cowboy cheerleader escorted him through the reverent line of teammates. For the coin toss, he joined his Senior Captains at midfield and made the call. During the game, he played double duty as a supportive player and team manager. When his number was called, with a racing heart he responded, giving his team his all Photo By Maegan Burr 7 8 Tory Johnson was not available for photo March 2008 Employee of the Month 9 10 April 2008 Employee of the Month May 2008 Employee of the Month Hobie D. Collins Terrence M. Melkonian Blake A. Galbraith Assad Mihitawi Tiesha Shauntai Gavin Mathew J. Nelson Christina L. Graziano Quinnten L. Price Whitney K. James Clarissa L. Reed Douglas A. Mecham, Jr. Diamond Scott Reid Thanks to the several thousand bulbs donated by Lowe s Home Improvement Center, and the hard work of five first grade classes in planting those bulbs last fall, Gearld Wright Elementary is in full bloom this spring! We are very grateful to Lowe s for their outstanding community service and support to local schools and organizations This past year Family Support Services has been providing students, teachers, and families with Person Centered Plans (PCP).
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