Team “Savage Bees” Completes the 2016 Savage Race


Thanks to The Maryland School for the Blind Adaptive Physical Education Instructor Matt Mescall for facilitating student participation in the Savage Race. 2016 marks the second consecutive year student athletes from The Maryland School for the Blind have taken on this challenge under Matt’s leadership. The video above is from this year’s event.  Below is Matt’s recap of the grueling and exciting day:

“On May 7, 2016 a group of blind athletes from The Maryland School for the Blind traveled to Kennedyville, Maryland to take on something that most people try to avoid: mud!  And lots of it!  The group from The Maryland School for the Blind adopted the team name “Savage Bees” and  attempted to take on a 6.5 mile obstacle mud run, an event  hosted by Savage Race.  Savage Race is one of the most intense mud races found among events of its kind.  As if the course’s 6.5 miles of wooded slopes, streams, and mud, mud, and more mud is not intimidating enough, there are 25 obstacles to challenge participants every step of the way.  And instead of the ordinary steeplechase obstacles, competitors are faced with extraordinary challenges such as jumping into a pool with 60,000 pounds of ice, leaping from a height of fifteen feet into a muddy pool, scaling walls 10 feet in height, monkey-swinging across a thirty-five foot expanse of monkey bars suspended ten feet above water, and commando crawling through, you guessed it, mud spread beneath a fifty foot stretch of barbed wire. Nine student athletes and five coaches formed the contingent of participants from The Maryland School for the Blind.  The determined group set a personal goal to overcome whatever the course threw at them.  The Savage Race challenges the most hardened and physically-conditioned athletes, and the students from The Maryland School for the Blind rose to meet this standard in spite of blindness and visual impairment.  Their ability and spirit had a big impact not only on each other as a team, but on other participants as well. Other racers stopped to encourage them, show their respect towards them,  and thank them for  their inspiring effort and for being part of the racing community. The story of these student athletes went viral across social media with many people commenting on their success:

  • “We saw these guys on the 8ft wall. It was amazing to see them accomplish it. I was so proud of them. It gave me chills. Great job!!”
  • “One of my favorite groups to photograph today. What an inspiration for others that think they can’t.”
  • “Absolutely inspiring. I had the honor of running by your group for a bit and watch you fearlessly jump off the platform into the water. So much  more brave than I could ever be. You are true savages. #respect”
  • “Literally saw one of these guys listen to a description of an obstacle, reach out and run their hands over part of the obstacle, then say, “I got  this!”

These student athletes show us all that we can do anything we set our minds to.  We will all have various obstacles to overcome throughout the course of our lives and the students prove that by surrounding yourself with a strong team who can support you physically, mentally, and emotionally, those obstacles can be overcome — even if you get a little dirty in the process. By overcoming those obstacles, not only do you make yourself stronger, but also the people around you. At The Maryland School for the Blind, these things happen every day with our students and staff. Whether they are students at our school, or participants in our Outreach Program – together we are capable of amazing things.  Please join me in congratulating  these 9 athletes in their amazing accomplishment. After all, the Savage Race is more than just a race – “It’s about setting personal goals and smashing them. It’s about pushing your limits to defeat the world’s best obstacles. It’s about teamwork and friendship. It’s about the amazing people you will meet on the course. It’s about the mud, the fire, and the Facebook pics. It’s about creating the memory of a lifetime ( ).”

A Day’s Worth of Technology Tips

Concepts such as GoTalk NOW, Tiggly, ALT tag, and tactile overlay took center stage at last week’s Practical Technology Tips for Visually Impaired Learners Conference held at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, MD. A result of a partnership between The Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland State Steering Committee for Programs of the Visually Impaired, the conference saw Teachers of the Visually Impaired attend from eight Maryland counties and the District of Columbia as well as Overbrook School for the Blind and The Maryland School for the Blind. Parents, the Division of Rehabilitation Services, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, and Allied Instructional Services were also represented among the attendees.

Conference participants chose to attend one of two concurrent sessions: Dr. Joshua Irzyk, Statewide Low Incidence Specialist, presented “What Do I Do with This Thing: Skills for Computer and Tablet Access.” Karin Nord and Kelly Jarrett, Assistive Technology Specialists at The Maryland School for the Blind, presented “Meaningful Moments and Manipulatives on the iPad for Learners with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities.”

Attendees detailed the range of new skills and techniques they learned during the event: accessibility check, optimizing presentation slide titles, ALT tag, and strategies for note taking represent a few of the examples cited. They also voiced appreciation for the opportunity to make a sample tactile overlay for the iPad as well as iPad support stands.

As part of planning for additional events, those in attendance were asked to provide examples of concepts they would like to see addressed in a future conference. One of the most popular topics noted was technology applications for math instruction.

Thanks to everyone who joined us for this technology conference. The Maryland School for the Blind and the Maryland State Steering Committee for Programs of the Visually Impaired also thank the Claire Loder McGough Memorial Fund for sponsoring this event.

Did you attend this conference? Feel free to drop us a note with additional feedback or suggestions!

Welcome to our Blog Site!

The Maryland School for the Blind Outreach Services aims to achieve four goals through our social media presence: (1) disseminate information related to the education of blind and visually impaired children (2) promote awareness of our trainings, conferences, and student programs (3) exchange ideas with parents of blind and visually impaired children as well as professionals within the blindness and low vision field and (4) serve as a portal for access to The Maryland School for the Blind’s main website.

Our blog postings will be organized into categories that follow the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC): Assistive Technology, Career Education, Compensatory Skills, Independent Living Skills, Orientation and Mobility, Recreation and Leisure, Self-Determination, Sensory Efficiency, and Social Interaction Skills.

Thank you for visiting!