Students Cross the Finish Line in the Seventy 48
A team of students from across the state of Utah who are blind crossed the finish line at 7:10 am after 36 hours of rowing in a seventy mile race across Puget Sound.
Media: Interviews with students and coaches are available
From Utah to Port Townsend, WA (June 10, 2022) – Students from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind CROSSED THE FINISH LINE THIS MORNING! If these students can master this race, they can do anything. The sky’s the limit. The after school activity centered on problem solving, communication, math, fitness, and teamwork! Susan Patten of the Utah School for the Blind exclaimed, “They finished! They are so cold, wet, and tired. They had to stop last night about 3.5 away from the finish line due to high swells. But they persevered when the waves calmed and made it across the finish line after 36 hours of rowing! These kids and their crew rock! Our staff is so amazing. They truly give their all in every way for these kids!”
Crew Leader Ryan Greene said, “The students wanted a second chance. Last year, the USDB Yacht Club paddled for 50 miles, but not the goal of 70. In 2021 they were not able to finish the race due to high swells and dangerous weather on the last leg of the race. This year, we were determined to make it to the finish line. We learned so much from the first attempt. This year we took short breaks at campgrounds along the way and we planned those stops with an eye on the tides to make our paddling as efficient and effective as possible. We did it! We crossed the finish line. The students wanted to enter this race and now they have conquered this challenge! ”
USDB Superintendent Joel Coleman said, “Words don’t touch how proud we are of these amazing students and their hard working chaperones. This challenge rallied every fiber of their beings. It is not just any row. The race mustered strength and courage from their minds, bodies, and souls. The bald eagles watched them along the way, after all, the USDB mascot is a bald eagle.
After these students return from a challenging experience like this, navigating across their school, town or state will be a breeze. They conquered the Seventy48, they know they can tackle anything in life.
The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind teachers and staff encourage our students every day and every year to overcome life’s challenges, they can do hard things! Throughout history, most sports have not been accessible to children who are blind. We focus on sports that are accessible and encourage our students to be active and healthy, physically and mentally: We focus on abilities, not disabilities.”
Who: 4 girls, 4 boys, and 8 adult chaperones from the Utah School for the Blind and districts across the state.
What/When: During spring, the students practiced rowing in Utah lakes. They also practiced overnight paddling and sleep/eat/shift changes. On June 10, they entered the race at 7:00 p.m. PT in Tacoma. They paddled during the day and the night. They crossed the finish line at 7:10 am today.
Where: SLC to Tacoma to Port Townsend in Washington State.
About USDB: Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) educates students who are Deaf, Blind, or Deaf-Blind so they can achieve their full academic, social, and career potential. USDB leads the way as a national model in providing the most responsive, caring, and innovative approach to meet the unique educational needs of our students. www.usdb.org.
Writer’s Tip: Students who are blind or have vision loss prefer to be referred to as a person first. Rather than “blind student” we encourage writing “students who are blind” or “students with vision loss.” On all articles and social media posts, please be sure to include a caption and/or alt text to describe the images.
In Utah: Susan Thomas (801) 889-6964 firstname.lastname@example.org
In WA: USDB Coach Ryan Greene (435) 994-0123
USDB Associate Superintendent Susan Patten (801) 380-4938