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January 22, 2018
Defying Challenges, Alabama School for the Blind ‘Ices’ its 16th SCASB Title in Oklahoma
Determination and perseverance are the characteristics that make champions – and that’s what it took to overcome winter storm challenges and bring home Alabama School for the Blind’s 16th consecutive South Central Association of Schools for the Blind title this weekend.
First, the students took nothing for granted. The defending champions trained, they practiced and they were prepared for competition in wrestling, cheerleading and drama against schools from five other states.
Then the journey to Muskogee, Oklahoma began. The students were scheduled to fly out of Atlanta early Thursday morning when a winter storm hit the area on Tuesday. To avoid the danger of icy roads, the team left late Tuesday for Atlanta to await their flight at a hotel near the airport. It was a wise call at the time – roads were closed in Talladega until midday on Thursday. Meanwhile, on Thursday morning in Atlanta the flight was cancelled. With competition scheduled to begin on Friday, school officials scrambled to find another flight for the students and staff. They would fly out of Birmingham late Thursday evening and finally arrived at their destination in Oklahoma in the wee hours of Friday morning.
But when it came time for competition to begin, ASB students were ready. The ASB cheer team won 1st place overall and in each of the three categories – Compulsory Cheer, 5 Minute Cheer Routine and Dance. The ASB cheer team also won the Spirit Award for the tournament. The ASB cheer team includes Zania Abdullah of Talladega, Danay Jackson of Montgomery, Arkadia Law (senior) of Tuscaloosa, Chase Lowe of Albertville, Chassidy Thomas of Goodwater, John McCaa (senior) of Tuscaloosa. Coach is Jennifer Hammock. Redskin mascot, Nisha Weaver (senior) of Talladega, took 3rd place and Arkadia Law took 4th in the individual competition.
And finally, the ASB Redskins wrestling team captured its 16th consecutive SCASB wrestling title with 235 ½ points. The closest competitor was Louisiana with 192 points, followed by Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas and Georgia. ASB fielded 12 wrestlers in the tournament with all twelve taking either first or second place in their weight classes.
Winning first in their weight classes in the high school division were Randi Platt of Semmes, 126 lbs.; Tanner Wood of Birmingham, 132 lbs., and Geordon Carter of Mobile, 170 lbs.
In the junior high division students winning first were Jay Tinniehill of Talladega, 106 lbs.; Jacquez Wright of Bessemer, 120 lbs.; Donovan Burch of Pell City, 126 lbs., and Michael White of Detroit, 170 lbs.
Winning second in their weight class in the high school division were Kameron Hardy of Birmingham, 106 lbs., AnnaMarie Theiss of Marion Junction, 195 lbs., and Will Lowery of Daphne, 220 lbs.
And second in the junior high division were Cassius Edwards of Jacksonville, 113 lbs. and Chris Brown of Brighton, 152 lbs.
Geordon Carter was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler in the Upper Weights. Troy Haynes is Coach of the ASB Redskins and Jimmy Dean and Josh Haynes are Assistant Coaches.
The students also performed a drama presentation while at SCASB at the direction of teacher Brenda Uptain. The group performed several musical numbers and a skit called “The Doctor’s Office” with student Tamara Woods stealing the show – and after a 21 hour trip and only five hours of sleep, added Mrs. Uptain. And the trip home added its own last touch of drama to the trip as the team was delayed by mechanical problems with the plane. They are happy to be home safe and sound with big smiles and new trophies to add to their collection.
“I am so proud of our students,” said ASB Principal Andy Keith. “They demonstrated a true championship spirit last week, not only in competition, but in enduring everything it took to get to Oklahoma and back. It was a challenging week to say the least, on campus and on the road. It might have been easy to just cancel the trip but it was important that our students have the opportunity to compete and it was an important lesson to learn that overcoming life’s obstacles takes work and perseverance. Our students never quit, they took their winning spirit with them throughout the trip and they brought home the first place trophies. Go Redskins!”
“I congratulate the students and staff at Alabama School for the Blind for proving once again that their talent and potential is limitless,” said Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind President Dr. John Mascia. “Certainly, they wanted to defend their longstanding SCASB title, but this year it took an extra measure of character and passion to overcome the complications and detours, to find the energy and drive to still finish first. It’s a reflection of what AIDB is all about.”
Alabama School for the Blind is a component of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, the world’s most comprehensive education and service program for children and adults with hearing and vision loss. AIDB includes five Talladega based campuses – the Alabama School for the Blind, Alabama School for the Deaf, Helen Keller School, Gentry Technical Facility, Alabama Industries for the Blind and eight Regional Centers located in Birmingham, Dothan, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Talladega, Tuscaloosa and Tuscumbia.