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Texas School for the Deaf sets national record, takes aim at state title

The Texas School for the Deaf girls basketball program is making program and national history. With their last playoff win, TSD (33-0) set the national deaf school record for wins in a season.

No matter the opponent, TSD wins with “Havoc”. Yes, that same havoc unleashed by Texas coach Shaka Smart when he took VCU to the 2011 Final Four.

“I was just fascinated with their high intensity press system.” TSD head coach Brian Sipek said. “I really enjoyed watching that team play and their defense, their havoc defense. I wanted to adopt that concept.”

“I think Havoc is really sort of our team secret,” TSD guard Leila Sicoli added. “And ever since I was freshman having that, it sparked us!”

“Deaf can. A deaf team can play.” TSD guard Sunita Schmidjorg said. “We’re undefeated right now and most of the hearing teams are like ‘wow, we played that team and they’re still undefeated’. So just to spread that out into the community and give them a sense that we’re representing TSD well.”

Two more wins stand between TSD and their first girls basketball state championship. The Lady Rangers face Houston Lutheran North Friday at 4:00pm in the TAPPS 4A State Semifinals.

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On this day in Alabama history: Gov. Andrew Moore born

On this day in Alabama history: Gov. Andrew Moore bornAndrew Barry Moore House in Marion, 1934. (W.N. Manning, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Andrew B. Moore (1807-1873) was born on March 7, 1807, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His father registered land in Perry County 13 years later and settled there.

Moore arrived in 1826 at their home near Marion, where he taught school before being admitted to the bar in 1833. He was justice of the peace when in 1839 Moore was elected to the state House of Representatives. He served as speaker from 1843 to 1845.

Moore returned to law in Marion in 1846 but remained active in the Democratic Party. He was appointed to the First Circuit Court in 1851 and elected in 1857 as governor. Education improved during his first term and the Institute for the Deaf and Blind was established in Talladega.

Portrait of Andrew B. Moore, undated. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

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Woman honored as Lightning Community Hero for her work in Deaf Community

Image result for Woman honored as Lightning Community Hero for her work in Deaf Community

TAMPA, Fla. – In a silent world there is one woman giving a voice to those who can’t hear. Her work and love for helping people is what Vamos Tampa Bay is all about!

Patti Sanchez is a talker. You may not hear her, but you’ll see through her hands that she has plenty to say. She works at the MacDonald Training Center helping those who are deaf and hard of hearing to gain skills and find jobs.   “There is a massive struggle. We are deaf, but we’re not broken. We can work at anything that we can do,” says Patti Sanchez.

Perhaps her most important work is with employers. She will go to employers, see what openings they have, and let them know if there is someone that would fit that position.   A lot of times all it takes for a company to hire someone from the deaf community is making a small accommodation.

“Because we may not hear, it doesn’t mean we can not do the job,” says Sanchez.   A job often done better than others.   “The important part is vision. We are very attention detailed, and that’s how we become successful. We don’t get distracted so we’re able to finish the job before our time,” says Sanchez.

Most recently she was honored by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a Lightning Community Hero.  “It’s like winning an Oscar award, but for humanitarian work. It’s a lifetime experience for me,” says Sanchez.  Well deserved for a woman who came here from Puerto Rico and saw the struggles for the deaf community in Tampa Bay.  “We have a deaf/blind lawyer. People are not aware of it, and that’s why I’m always advocating. I am the voice of the deaf and hard of hearing population,” says Sanchez.

Patti also spends her free time teaching American Sign Language classes. Her efforts have taught ASL to over 400 people, and she’s placed more than 100 deaf and hard of hearing individuals in jobs around Tampa Bay.

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Deaf charity launches story competition on World Book Day


The pair said it was incredibly important that disabilities like deafness are featured in children’s books.

They have joined together to launch the National Deaf Children’s Society competition, open to the 18,000 deaf children in the UK aged 7-11, for a story including a deaf character.

Julia Donaldson, who is hard of hearing herself, has written a book featuring lip-reading called Freddie and the Fairy and when she was Children’s Laureate worked with a group of deaf children on What the Jackdaw Saw, a book about sign language.

The children’s author said, ‘I loved working on that story, and now I’m delighted to be involved in this writing competition. I can’t wait to see the stories that deaf children across the country come up with.’

Rachel Shenton won an Oscar for best live action short film in 2018 The Silent Child, which tells the story of a four-year-old girl who struggles to communicate until she learns sign language.

‘Making The Silent Ch

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Director wants ‘Eurydice’ to bridge deaf, hearing audiences

A couple weeks before “Eurydice” was set to open at City Lights Theater Company, director Lisa Mallette was not yet sure how to convey the music Orpheus plays to rescue the titular heroine from the underworld.

A sound cue alone wouldn’t do it, since Mallette’s concept for the show is to make it equally accessible for deaf and hearing audiences. To that end, all the characters in Sarah Ruhl’s play have been given counterparts who perform the roles in American Sign Language alongside English-speaking actors.

I hope it will provide a bridge for audiences that don’t usually see shows together,” Mallette said. “I don’t know if deaf people will come; we don’t have a relationship with the deaf community.”

The director acknowledged that her ASL cast members have assured her the play will draw deaf audiences.

“We want to remove barriers to people enjoying live theater,” Mallette said. “If you go to a show with a (sign language) interpreter, they’re always off to the side. It completely cuts off audience engagement.”

Mallette said she didn’t want to choose a script just because it called for a character to use ASL. Instead, she found a play in which communication—in this case, between worlds—is a key aspect.

“It took me over a year to find the right play,” she said. “I had to pick a play I’d do anyway. I really like Sarah Ruhl, and I really like the text. It’s an old story told from the woman’s point of view.”

Once she got Ruhl’s permission to add ASL actors to the cast, Mallette set about figuring out how they’d work best with the English-speaking actors. While the two actors playing the same character are most often together on stage, there are moments when an ASL actor interacts with another character’s English-speaking counterpart. And the English-speaking cast members sometimes sign along with the ASL actors. The goal, said the director, is to give the play more depth.

“It makes it very full,” said Mallette. “The script is already like a poem with fantastical elements.”

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NAD: Dear Younger Self

March 8th is International Women’s Day, some of our board members share advice to their younger selves. What advice would you give to your younger self? #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2019 #DeafWomenHistoryMonth