Northwest Association of Deaf Basketball (NWADB)

Andrea Anderson

The Utah Nighthawks team merged with NorCal’s team, a local California team, went on recently to win fifth place out of six women’s teams in the 25th USA Deaf Basketball women’s tournament.  On the Nighthawks were Rebecca Davenport, Ruthe-Ellen Auman and ZanDraya Schwab.

The Mountaineers, who missed their teammates Laurie Ross due to a broken knee and Shabby Razmpour to a broken toe, had seven players.  They played their very best and were not able to beat the national champion team, West Stars, who had a huge presence of Easter Faafiti and their star point guard, Ida Dotson.  With two missing post players, we were out-rebounded and lost the game to them.  They were down by four points at four separate times but were never able to get the lead, Ida took advantage of our exhausted team in the second half and went on some fast breaks to build a large lead.  They played three games and won two, beating NorCal Nighthawks and Chicago for third place title.  The Mountaineers vows to get back together with a full roster and try again next year for the national title. Their goal is to stay healthy and play basketball more often.

Shari Bailey won the First Team All Star, Abby DeMario won the Second Team All Star awards for the Mountaineers.

Game 2-Mountaineers, 63- Nor Cal Nighthawks 27.
Game 4- West Stars 56- Nor Cal Nighthawks 21.
Game 6- West Stars 86-Mountaineers 64.
Game 7-NorCal Nighthawks 49- Vancouver Reds 28.
Game 8-Mountaineers 68-Chicago Lady Panthers 60.

During the tournament, the Hall of Fame Ceremony for the women’s program was held. Shirley Platt was one of nine honorees. Shirley, our Utah native was recognized as a STRONG leader for the women program, She and her husband, Dennis were the ones that pushed the Utah’s women team to keep competing with the national top teams. Utah has attended the USADB tournament nine times since 2002. Pictures of our team was taken in their presentation.  Hand-waving to both Utah teams and Shirley Platt!!

Shirley Hortie Platt, a native of Indiana, has served for 30 years as a leader and women’s advocate in the deaf sports world.  She started at Metro Washington Association of the Deaf (MWAD) as a club secretary and then athletic director.  She became the first female officer in the Southeast Athletic Association of the Deaf (SEAAD) as their secretary-treasurer.  She was the first woman to be elected secretary-treasurer in the American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD).  Shirley was a reckoning force in the AAAD as her drive and determined helped women’s softball become an official sport under AAAD, followed by women’s basketball.  She served as the first and only Executive Director for the AAAD for 8 years and helped establish the AAAD Home Office in Ogden, Utah.  Shirley then became USA Deaf Basketball’s Public Relations Director from 1999 to 2000 and from 2002-2003.  She also came out of retirement several times and helped salvage the nearly defunct USA Deaf Basketball by being the first female President/Commissioner of USADB until her final retirement.  In addition, Ms. Platt, a skilled writer, worked as a sportswriter for Deaf USA, Deaf Sports Review, AAAD Bulletin, DeeCee Eyes and Silent News.  Shirley received numerous honors and awards including the USADSF 2006 Art Kruger Award and as “First Lady of the AAAD” into the USADSF Hall of Fame in 2012.



President’s Corner

Utah Association of the Deaf hosted ASL Skate on April 10 at Classic Fun Center in Sandy.  It was so successful, $432 was raised. The money will go towards the 2015 UAD Conference. We thank the community who attended and met new/old friends.  We saw many ASL students who came and enjoyed themselves and met deaf people. Board members who were at the event had a great time meeting people.

We are partnering with the Sanderson Community Center to host a legislative training for the first time. It will be on Saturday, November 14 from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Check the flyer on page 10 for more information. It is FREE. It is a huge benefit for you to learn how to build relationships with important people in your area.  Don’t miss it out on it.  Lunch will be provided.

The 2015 UAD biennial conference will be held in Provo October 16 and 17. Do save the date! Informational announcements will be posted through UAD Announce and UAD Bulletin. Do join us!  UAD and UTRID are partnering for this conference.  We have posted ticket prices in advance for the conference.  We offer different plans such as early bird and seniors/students. Check it out on the UAD website.

We strongly encourage you to join UAD as a member and support UAD; membership strengthens the organization. UAD needs your voice and your opinion to help move it forward in the future. Membership is only $15 a year and is tax deductible.  To join, go to and click on ‘Join Us.’

Donations to UAD are always appreciated. To donate, contact Adele Sigoda at

Philippe Montalette, 

Fundraiser for Iztel Garcia

Valerie Kinney

A junior at Skyline High School under USDB auspices, Iztel Garcia, is a up and coming leader among her fellow students. She participated in the Utah Academic Bowl for the first time, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico, she mingled with Academic Bowl students from other states. She met several who plan to attend Gallaudet, and also met Gallaudet staff members.

Her favorite subject is art. She enjoys expressing colors, feelings, and other senses through art.

Iztel aims to attend Gallaudet after graduation from Skyline, which will afford her the opportunity to meet students and staff members from various states and countries.

Her parents are Laura and Alejandro, and she just gained a baby sister, Rebekah, who is now 5 months old.  She counts her dog, Jack the Chihuahua, as family.

Her plan this summer is to attend the Youth Leadership Camp in Stayton, Oregon, June 23 to July 20.  She is actively working to raise $800 to fund her stay at YLC. If you would like to donate and support Iztel’s camp experience, please go to

Film Entry Wins as Finalist in Toronto Film Festival

Valerie Kinney

A film entry in the 5th Biennial Toronto International Deaf Films & Art made it as a finalist.  The film, “The Beats of Silence,” is about negative and positive feelings in daily life where people fight through no matter what they deal with as Deaf people. Color reflects everything in expression of feelings through sadness or happiness.

The film was entered by Andrea Vigil, who is a senior at Gallaudet University in Washington DC.   She is from West Valley City and attended Skyline High School.

This video was made in her Video Art Installation class. Her professor asked her to do something in experimental abstract art. She experimented with paints, music speakers, fireworks and had friends express words with negative and positive messages. It shows a lot of repeats of how they deal with in their daily lives.

The festival took place May 27 – 31, 2015 with a showing of films and art.

Andrea will graduate this month from Gallaudet with a degree in communication with digital media as a minor.

May 2015 Holidays

1    May Day
5    Cinco de Mayo
6    National Teacher’s Day
10  Mother’s Day
24  Arbor Day
25  Memorial Day

St. George Sego Lily Makes History at Snow Canyon

Ruthe-Ellen Auman

After 5 spectacular years of hosting the Sego Lily’s Annual bike event in Salt Lake City, the St. George Sego Lily and the Deaf Community decided to make history by hosting the first ever walk/bike event at Snow Canyon State Park Saturday, April 25, 2015. The rainstorm from the night before brought more details out of those beautiful red canyons. The vivid light green desert plants were glowing luminously! It wasn’t too wet. It wasn’t too hot either. Mother Nature decided to hold up the rain in order for participants to enjoy the event! It was a perfectly cool morning to spend with a great warm-hearted group of community members coming together to show support for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf Blind victims.

Here’s a glimpse of the historical day: the opening ceremony began with a survivor story shared by Erin Andresen and Mariah Carey’s song “Hero” being signed by Britton and Stephanie, a dedicated and caring group of individuals doing the 5k walk and 15k ride along the beautiful scenic route of red sand and rocks, the event concluded with the following: SUDHHP representative, Diego Acosta expressing support for Sego Lily programs, the drawing of raffle prizes, and free handouts from the Red Rock Bicycle Company. It was indeed a day to remember!

Lastly, Sego Lily would like to thank Snow Canyon for allowing Sego Lily to host the event at their majestic park and for the sponsors for their generous donations. Sego Lily also thanks the volunteers for dedicating their time and talents to the event. Sego Lily couldn’t have done this without them!


USDB Update

Michelle Tanner

I am pleased to introduce to you the new logo for the Utah Schools for the Deaf.  This was developed by Brandon Hill and will be the logo USD uses to represent the Utah Schools for the Deaf.  I am so grateful to Brandon Hill for his time and expertise in developing this logo.  I think he did a remarkable job!


During the month of April USDB participated in its accreditation process.  In preparation for this event the USDB administration gathered information from parents, students and teachers through online surveys, readdressed current data from each school and department as well as completing self-assessments provided by the accrediting body.  Finally, a group of individuals representing accreditation spent two days at our campus programs observing in the classrooms, reading our reports and data and finally providing us with a report of our strengths, suggested areas of improvement and mandatory areas for improvement.  Our required area for improvement will be in creating and presenting a comprehensive professional development plan.  Progress on this goal will be reported two years from now.  Through all of this work it was determined that USDB will continue to be accredited for the next five years.  We are proud to report that the overall score for our accreditation was above average for the nation.

Another activity that happens in April is budget prep for the upcoming school year.  As part of this process, we analyze how funds were spent for the previous school year and then project the needed areas of funding for the upcoming school year.  This is a very detailed and intensive process that outlines where money will be spent on a month-by-month basis.  Each division has developed a spend plan and accommodated for personnel changes in the upcoming school year.

Additionally, during the month of April the Superintendent and I attended the annual Council of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) meeting in Tacoma, WA.   This meeting includes the superintendents of programs and schools for the deaf across the nation.  This year the conference focused on leadership traits and how to cultivate more leaders in the field.   We found it informative and a great conference.  Next year this will be held at the Kansas School for the Deaf.

Finally, we are asking for any assistance in recruiting vacant positions.  Currently we have teaching positions at JMS, KBS, Listening and Spoken Language program and Deaf South.  There are also positions available for related services.  If you or someone you know is an excellent teacher and interested in pursuing a career with USDB, please send a resume and letter of interest to Carol DeRosier at  We would love to interview all the quality applicants for these positions.

Thank you for all your support of USD!  We couldn’t do it without you!

Deaf PIP Update

Paula Pittman

Spring is in full force and PIP staff are happy for days filled with extended hours of daylight since many of us make home visits in the evening.  It is always nice to have sunlight still burning when we arrive home from work.  This is also a fun time of year to do home visits because there are so many beautiful things that we can talk about and explore with the children…flowers, blooming trees, Spring rain, yards filled with birds and bugs and other creepy crawly things that our babies are just fascinated by.

Our PIP staff was fortunate enough this April to be able to have our Spring Training this year up at Snowbird.  Unfortunately, we picked the only day this Spring when the mountains (and the valleys) got bombarded with snow!  Getting up to Snowbird for a retreat on the morning after the ski resort received 43 inches of snow is a challenge! Every skier in the valley wanted to take advantage of the last powder day of the season.  But everyone finally made it up the mountain and we were able to do some in depth training so we could better use google for our email and for shared documents.  We also had the chance to do some team building and had a great opportunity to get to know one another since we have added eight new staff members on our team in the past year.  Because we are spread all over the state and since all of our work is done in homes with individual families, we do not have the opportunity to build a sense of team all that often.  I think most of the staff had the most fun in our PIP Amazing Race, where staff had to do all kinds of crazy things and work together as teams to accomplish a variety of tasks.  Great fun was had by all!

During our retreat we were also able to spend some time preparing for our upcoming PIP Family Camp.  We have already started receiving RSVP’s and to date have over 40 people registered.  Registration will continue through next week, then the push to get everything ready for our June 5-6 event will be on.  We have also begun to gather our numbers in preparation for our end of the year report.  We learn a bit more each year and continue to make program changes based on what we learn about our program and the progress our children and families are making in our program.

Enjoy the beauty of Spring, and thank you for all of the support you provide to the Parent Infant Program!

Jean Massieu School News

Aimee Breinholt

The school year is quickly coming to a close.  We have a month left with lots of activities and learning yet to do!

With the new grading program LumenTouch, purchased this school year, we are pleased to announce that parents now have access to grades and class information online.

Our student body government (SBG) just hosted our annual Stingers game, students vs staff.  The staff are proud to say that we won this year…barely.  The game was a fight to the end.  Staff won by one point.  SBG was able to fundraise a little over $500 thanks to generous bidders at our cake auction.  It was a great night and we would like to thank all who came out and supported JMS!  Great job SBG!

Our seventh and eighth grade boys have been playing in the Junior Jazz basketball league.  They would love your continued support and cheers!  Games are Saturday at the Taylorsville recreation center.

A dance class is now being offered to our 4th-9th grade students.  The students are excited about the new skills they are developing.  There will be a dance recital on May 26th from 5-6pm at JMS.  The students would love to show you what they have learned.

Please mark your calendar for our last Family Night Activity of the year on May 14th from 6-8pm at the deaf center.  Activities will be provided for the students and a parent class will be taught by Stephanie Mathis.  These activities have been a wonderful networking opportunity for families and we would love to see community members there as well.

We have been able to start a reading clinic.  It is a pilot program and many have shown a great interest in this program.  We are excited to open the clinic up to all of our K-9th grade students during the summer months.  Parents please sign up!  In addition to this clinic, we are thrilled to announce several summer camps for all ages.  The camps will be posted on the community calendar.  Registration is under way now.  We would love volunteers from the community to help make these camps a success for all deaf/hard-of-hearing students.  If you are interested in volunteering or need more information about these camps please contact me at

We would like to thank the community for all of your support.  Please continue to stop by and make a difference for our students!

Utah AB Team Wins Team Sportsmanship Award

Kristi Mortensen

The Utah Academic Bowl was in Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Southwestern Regional Academic Bowl competition from March 26th to 29th. Team members were JoJo Savea, a senior at Skyline High, Itzel Garcia and Abigail Ginter, both juniors at Skyline High, and Joshua Torres, a freshman at Skyline High along with two coaches, Jasmine Taylor and Kristi Mortensen. When they arrived, they boarded the yellow school bus along with two other teams. The ride was an hour drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe where New Mexico School for the Deaf is located. Libby who is JoAnn Benfield’s assistant boarded with them. JoAnn is the interim director of Southwest Gallaudet University Regional. When they arrived in Santa Fe; the Academic Bowl teams stopped for late lunch before entering the New Mexico School for the Deaf grounds. Once inside the gated school, going outside at any time during the competition weekend is not allowed.

All weekend, the Utah team did very well considering that they had to play back to back matches. The players were worn out pretty quickly. On Friday afternoon, they had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Alan Hurwitz, Gallaudet University President. That same evening, they went to a building where they had an ice skating rink, swimming pool, and others. Some group of players went to a small gym to basketball hoops and some went to the ice skating rink. Jasmine and Kristi had the pleasure of sitting back watching Utah players trying to keep their balance straight on the ice. It was fun. They had a delicious local made pizza and salad.

On Saturday, the Utah team did very well. They worked hard and they played hard, too. Utah Academic Bowl team was noted as the first to register for the Southwestern Regional Academic Bowl. They won the Team Sportsmanship award, for the third time in a row.

The Utah team deserves pat on the back for their hard work. Some interesting facts that you may like to know about the Utah players. JoJo Savea has been with the Utah AB team for four straight years; she is ready to graduate. Itzel Garcia is a first timer as AB player, and contributed really well. Abigail Ginter has blossomed and mingled with young people during breaks. Even more, her signing skills has improved quite a lot. Finally but not least, Joshua Torres was one of the three freshmen in the entire Southwestern Regional Academic Bowl. He has never flown in an airplane. Throughout the weekend, he has experienced a lot of firsts.  All in all, the Utah AB players had a grand time. The coaches believe the AB experience enriched the team players’ memory.








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