USDB Graduation 2022
Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind
Where the Students Make the Graduation Speeches!
Graduation Event in Ogden on Thursday May 26, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.
For Media Use:
Ogden, Utah (Thursday May 26, 2022) – Students from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) often work a little harder than their peers to gain an education and graduate from high school. They utilize American Sign Language, hearing aids, white canes, accessibility technology, and more to help them to access their learning environment. In addition to the typical academic subjects, USDB students learn to Self Advocate, develop improved language skills, social emotional skills, the Expanded Core Curriculum for the blind, and other life skills they need to become confident and capable adults who contribute to their communities.
One graduating senior has been through a lot during his life. Eh Ta Kpaw Say moved from Thailand to the U.S. and attended a school where he was the only deaf student. Then, he made the move to the Jean Massieu School for the Deaf in Salt Lake where he is getting excellent grades. He thrives by using three languages: English, Karen, and American Sign Language. Eh Ta said, “I love going to a deaf school where everyone signs. I had the opportunity to play basketball and go to amazing museums in Washington DC, thanks to the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. I have straight A’s right now. My teachers are amazing. The teachers have been the best part of my senior year. When I graduate, I am going to college and hope to become a PE teacher. ”
Eh Ta interview quotes and clips https://youtu.be/5wZPUiqXgyU
USDB Superintendent Joel Coleman said, “Our learners benefit from the personalized education and the innovative support and resources they receive from the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. These students have studied on our campuses and graduation day is always exciting when they come together wearing their caps and gowns to collect their diplomas. (Video of Supt. Coleman at graduation)
Graduation provides a heartwarming ceremony for the seniors, their parents, and teachers. The Chair of the Utah State Board of Education, Mark Huntsman, will attend the event this year to officially acknowledge their success. Each senior shares inspiring, and very personal, stories about their educational experiences and their journey to graduation. Many students have also participated in charity work in their communities during their time at USDB through activities that help them to give back to good causes like the Utah Food Bank, Primary Children’s Hospital, and more. For some of them, navigating the environment can be a monumental challenge – so when they succeed, it is an achievement to celebrate. In fact, Utah’s deaf students recently ranked #1 in the nation for high school completion. Utah is also one of the only states to offer programs for both American Sign Language, as well as Listening and Spoken Language skills for the hard of hearing. Many students are thriving using a collaborative approach that embraces both language modalities. Our Utah School for the Blind also serves as a national model for blind education. Utah was the first state to offer an accreditation for teachers of students with deafblindness, who are both deaf as well as blind. Several education associations have asked the USDB staff to share their best practices for STEM learning for the Blind and the Expanded Core Curriculum with other teachers and schools in the country. ”
Kollin Prince is graduating from the Utah School for the Blind. He shared, “I learned the Expanded Core Curriculum, and I love it! It is awesome for everyone who is blind. We learn orientation and mobility, life skills, and so much more. People learn a lot from what they see. When you can’t see, you miss out on a lot of incidental learning. So that is what the Expanded Core Curriculum gives us…things we miss. It is awesome for me and my classmates. The teachers are the best. Even our buildings are designed just for us. We have bright lighting, and textures on the walls and floors, plus access to braille and cutting edge accessibility technology. I’ve loved my time at the Utah School for the Blind in Ogden and the friends I’ve made. I’m super excited to graduate.”
REPORTERS AND CAMERAS ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND GRADUATION
Who: More than a dozen students who are deaf or blind will graduate and each student will share a brief but poignant presentation reflecting upon their education and school years.
What: It is a unique event. The graduation is small and very personal.
When: 11:00 a.m. at the USDB Ogden campus on Thursday, May 26. Afterward, at 12:15 Graduation Lunch for students and their families. Students, teachers and other school officials are available for one-on-one interviews after the event upon request.
Where: USDB 742 Harrison Blvd, in the gym
How: This graduation event will take place in English, American Sign Language, and interpreters for four foreign languages will be available over Zoom.
Why: These kids are so hard working! They learn so many communication skills, how to use their devices, like hearing aids, white canes, and many accessible technology apps, in addition to the rest of their education.
About USDB: Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) educate 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 possible to meet the unique educational needs of our students. To learn more visit www.usdb.org.
The USDB Education Foundation: The Utah legislature generously provides funding to cover the basics at USDB such as buildings, books, teachers and staff. Sometimes the families of these unique children need a little more help. Based on need, unique technology and learning opportunities can be provided thanks to the USDB Foundation. USDB provides overhead and administrative resources for the Foundation, allowing 100% of donations to go directly to the children. This gives individuals, foundations, and corporations an opportunity to donate and make a real difference in the life of a child. www.usdbfoundation.org