Monday March 23, 2009

Prep Basketball: KSD players, coach taking part in all-star game


Dustin Tipton and Travis Zornoza aren’t quite through playing basketball for Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Their senior season has come and gone, but the two recently learned they’ll get to play together one more time after being chosen for a national all-star game. Better still, they found out they’ll have a familiar coach for the game.

Zornoza and Tipton are the first KSD players to be chosen for USA Deaf Basketball’s youth all-star game, which will be played April 18 in Fullerton, Calif. KSD coach Mike Yance has been picked as the coach of the team they’ll play for.

“It’s a big honor,” Tipton said through an interpreter. “It made me feel so good.”

The two Colonels are among 20 players picked for the USADB East-West game that is part of a four-day basketball event that also includes adult men’s and women’s tournament.

“We’re thrilled,” Yance said.

Yance was also thrilled to break the news to his players, though they said that wasn’t what they thought their meeting with the coach was about.

“We thought we were in trouble,” Tipton said.

Ironically, Zornoza had asked his coach only the day before if he had heard any news about the selections.

“I’ve known about it, and I wanted to be on the team,” he said. “I was really hoping for that opportunity. I’m friends with some people who have played in the game, and they said it’s a great experience.”

Yance had no news at the time, but he said he enjoyed getting to tell the two boys they were picked to play for the East team – and to tell them who their coach would be.

“I said, ‘Guess who’s going to be your coach?’ They all got so excited, and we were all hugging,” Yance said.

Excitement all around

Yance said that when he got the word that his players had been picked, he almost overlooked the part of the congratulatory letter that said he would be part of the game as well.

“I was ready to mention it to the two players … but I didn’t know anything about myself,” he said.

Both players readily accepted the invitation, which requires that they pay for or raise money for their airfare to southern California. Once there, all of their other expenses, including lodging at a nearby school for the deaf, are covered.

Tipton is particularly looking forward to the trip because he said it will be his first time in California.

“I have never flown before,” he said.

The players and coaches will fly west a couple of days before the game, and there will only be time for one practice before they play the following day. During the game, players will play in groups of five for about five minutes at a time for the first three quarters to make sure everybody gets plenty of playing time, and coaches are free to use any lineups they choose in the fourth quarter.

“It’ll be fun coaching the different players,” Yance said.

Zornoza, a 6-1 center who will likely play guard in the all-star game, averaged 12.2 points, a team-high 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists for KSD, which went 12-13 this season and finished second in the Mason-Dixon Tournament for Southern schools for the deaf. Tipton, a 5-10 guard, averaged 9.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and a team-high 3.7 assists. Both players shot 46 percent from the field.

Yance said coaches from Gallaudet University, a school specifically for deaf students in Washington, will be watching players at the game. Zornoza has already committed to play for Gallaudet, while Tipton said he’s interested in attending that school but looking at others as well.

Zornoza said he thought he would have a chance to be selected for this game, but Tipton said he thought a shoulder injury that hampered him for part of this season might have hurt his chances. Both are glad, however, to be sharing the experience with a teammate.

“I won’t go there feeling out of my comfort zone (because) I’ll be having him with me,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yance was able to convince game officials to add his assistant coach, Byron Wilson, to the East staff.

“He’s been a tremendous help,” Yance said.
Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2009

Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville goes global for MegaDEAF Conference
2009-03-23 11:52:00-04

From the newsroom of the The Danville Advocate-Messenger, Danville, Kentucky, Sunday, March 22, 2009 …..

Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville goes global for MegaDEAF Conference


KSD teacher Clyde Mohan works out the kinks in the a video conference system in Brady Hall. The system will be used Wednesday to connect KSD students with 39 schools around the world during the first-ever MegaDEAF Conference. (David Brock photo)

At noon Wednesday Kentucky School for the Deaf will be at the center of a video conferencing network that will cross both linguistic and physical barriers.

That includes reaching the northern border of the U.S. and the Atlantic Ocean.

The MegaDEAF Conference will visually connect students from 39 schools in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom for two hours.

The Danville campus will serve as the command center, with KSD high school students using American Sign Language to communicate on video screens and playing the role of “video jockeys.”

They will present a series of six student-produced videos from all over the country that range from ski lesson’s taught by Montana School for the Deaf and Blind students to the Minnesota Northstar Academy’s tutorial about online newspapers and podcasting.

The idea began to take shape two years ago when Clyde Mohan, a KSD teacher and the project’s manager, became aware of students in distant locations being linked together for mega conferences online.

Mohan soon recognized that what worked for hearing video conference participants could play an even more vital role for deaf students.

“I started to grasp how video conferencing could be used to connect deaf students in particular,” he said. “The mega-conference we saw was 12 hours long. We are starting small with just two hours, but we hope to expand this. Once we have it figured out we could do this with schools in Slavic countries, in Western Europe, in South America, across all different time zones.”

The high-tech equipment that will be used for the conference was made possible by a $440,000 federal E-rate grant.

In addition to two large screens and a camera in Brady Hall, where the video jockeys will be on Wednesday, there will also be locations for elementary, middle and high school students.

Also part of KSD’s complement of video conferencing implements is the Maestro, which Mohan said several students refer to as “R2D2” because of its resemblance to the Star Wars movie robot. It is a portable device that includes a camera and will allow TVs or projectors used for interactive video.

The hardware puts KSD in the vanguard for technology in deaf education. The school’s set up is so cutting-edge it is actually a prototype being developed by the company Tandberg.

KSD director of technology Deby Trueblood said that vendors are loaning equipment to other schools for the event, but she hopes more of them will also start to receive funding.

“Once we finally got the funding we looked around and there were not really other schools who had working equipment,” Trueblood said. “Part of this conference is demonstrating to everyone the applications that this has. Hopefully showing the benefits for deaf education will help more schools can get grants.”

Only the beginning

Wednesday’s activities will only scratch the surface of what KSD can do with video-conferencing in the future. Trueblood said that the program is just the beginning of what can be done to connect deaf students.

“The deaf population of Kentucky is around 3 percent and in the world it is around 10 percent,” she said. “Our kids often lack people to talk to and this will allow them to broaden their worlds. We are really only limited in what we can do with this by our imaginations.”

Mohan said that the potential to avoid travel and other costs will likely garner widespread attention during dire economic times.

Instead of loading buses and heading on a day-long field trip, kids could tour a historic site or a museum without leaving their desk.

However, where Mohan sees the most immediate impact is in actual classroom instruction.

“We can do distance learning and cooperate with other schools,” he said. “If there is not a teacher for a certain class at a school for the deaf, a student could connect to a classroom at a school that does have a teacher for that subject. Right now our focus will be on lining up content and instruction with other schools.”

When combined with the camera and two larger screens, the Maestro will allow teachers and students in different classrooms to see one another throughout a lesson.

Mohan said he has also witnessed the ways in which using ASL with video technology allows students to hone their language skills.

“I have already seen how this can help improve language. The kids make an effort to be significantly more clear with their signing when they are using the video, because they have to communicate effectively. Instead of using slang like they would in person they want to be clear and concise.”

While students are no doubt curious about the chance to have a classmate in another location, Mohan said there is genuine excitement about the social aspect of video conferencing.

“When the Mason-Dixon Games were going on, the boys were here and the girls were in South Carolina at the same time,” he said. “We had a video-conferencing party night and the kids were thrilled to be able to talk to one another. We can see the potential for all kinds of after-school activities and social events.”

Mohan said he embraces the great expectations that will likely follow the MegaDEAF Conference.

“It is up to us now to take advantage of the technology and explore all of the ways it can help our students learn and interact,” he said.

Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2009

Bluegrass CUP

Bluegrass Cup
June 12-13, 2009

Nationwide Deaf Disc Golf Tournament
Idlewild Park/Boone Woods Park
Burlington, KY (beside Florence)
Costs information for players on website
Non-KDDGA members may play, too!

KSDAA Cookout at Idlewild Park on June 13th, selling hamburgers, drinks, etc. for KSDAA fundraising!

Poker Night (Social Night)
Microtel Inn & Suites
Florence, KY
$20 per player

Park entrance is FREE for fans!
Idlewild Park has a playground for kids, a basketball court, and trails for hiking/running.

Find more information on http://www.kddga.org/bluegrasscup.html.

April 3rd..DeafACtors in Law and Order: CI

April 3 – DEAF ACTORS in Law & Order: Criminal Intent

Spread out to ur AMIGOS!!

After much rumor and anticipation – NBC has made it official!

Law & Order: Criminal Intent is featuring an episode called “The Silencer”,
starring a talent-heavy cast of Deaf actors, including:

Deanne Bray
Alexandria Wailes
Garrett Zuercher
Darren Frazier
Hillary Baack
Willy Conley
Raymond Luczak

Adding to the excitement, NBC broke history by hiring the most Deaf extras for a network TV episode.

Please tune in to your local NBC provider on Tuesday, April 3rd at 9pm to
watch the exciting bullet-ridden drama unfold!

Also, if you plan to watch this episode with a group of friends, please,
please, please turn your TV on, or record the episode so the Nielsen ratings go through the roof! Then more Deaf actors will be asked back to work!

Support your friends! Support your acting community!

Obit of Ruth Richmond Greco

Ruth Richmond Greco passed away last March 6th, 2009. The obituary can be found at: Ruth Richmond Greco


KDDGA’s 2009 Season Starts in Louisville!
April 18, 2009 in Louisville

Click below to see complete 2009 season schedule

Interested in joining KDDGA? Click below

Contact Ant Isaacs, KYDeafDG@aol.com, if you have any questions to ask.