UTAH (ABC4) – A team of Utah students who are deaf, hard of hearing, and blind help build a boat and prepare for a seventy-mile race, event organizers tell ABC4.
On May 15, Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind gathered together at Utah Lake located at 4400 West Center Street in Provo, to practice paddling as they gear up for their upcoming boat race.
“Across the State of Utah students from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind are always game for a big challenge. Growing up, they`ve learned to self-advocate, learn braille, use a white cane, learn American Sign Language, and much more. So taking on this monumental goal of paddling a
boat across Puget Sound fits right in with their courageous personalities and personalized education,” event organizers tell ABC4.
According to officials, this afterschool activity centers on courage, problem-solving, communication, math, fitness, and teamwork.
“The students are communicating really well with each other. It happened organically. The students who are deaf are visual, the students with vision loss rely on hearing more, yet they naturally communicate by doing things like tapping a teammate on the shoulder,” shares Crew Leader Ryan Greene.
Officials say students have been preparing for the race for nearly three months. During March, the students finished building the boat, then during Spring Break, they traveled to Lake Powell to practice rowing. In April, they then practiced overnight paddling and sleep/eat/shift changes and now in May, they are paddling again.
“At first we were paddling in circles, but now we are getting our rhythm, we`re in the zone! I never thought I could do this,” exclaims teammate Landon Pearce, who is blind.
According to event organizers, Utah students have been teaming up with a group of Colorado
students as they prepare for their big race, which is anticipated to take place on June 4 in Tacoma.
Officials say the students are determined to pull through and be prepared as the 48-hour race will require them to paddle 70 miles to arrive in Port Townsend.
According to the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, students are eager to make their way to the finish line, from “SLC to Lake Powell to Utah Lake to Tacoma to Port Townsend in Washington State.”
“If these students can enter this race, they can do anything. The sky’s the limit,” they add.