Scranton State School for the Deaf in jeopardy; Enjoys good news

12 02 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The cheering started before the game did.

As junior Demetrius Curtis took warm-ups with his team in the auditorium at the Scranton State School for the Deaf, a buzz ran through the crowd.

“Go Demetrius Go” and “1,000 points” adorned neon-colored signs.

At a time when students and their families are grappling with last week’s bleak news of a potential closing, everyone seemed focused on their newest feel-good story.

Demetrius, 18, who is deaf, sat eight points away from 1,000 in his career, eclipsing a mark few have reached in SSSD history.

But his story starts much earlier, long before Demetrius entered SSSD.sc_times_trib_20090211_a_pg9_tt11deafbasketball_s1_2296519_top4

“He’s been playing basketball since he was 15 months old,” the Pocono Summit youth’s mother, Judith Curtis, said. “His cousin used to babysit him and sat him under a basketball net.”

Since then, she said, he’s always loved the game.

Coach Doug Boersma said he knew such a player had a unique opportunity at SSSD.

“Students like Demetrius may not have the ability to play” in other schools, he said. “Being a student here gave him the ability to play.”

And then there is his unselfish attitude.

“He’s a great team player, and he understands his role defensively,” Mr. Boersma said.

But the pressure of Tuesday’s game affected Demetrius’ play against the New York State School for the Deaf, and he struggled early on.

“I was out of control,” he said after the game. “I wanted to make the 1,000th point.”

Eventually, he settled in and, midway through the second quarter, drove to the net, gently dropping the ball in to break the mark.

Play stopped as teammates and opponents rushed the floor to congratulate Demetrius on his achievement.

“It’s exhilarating,” Demetrius said. “It’s a fantastic feeling to know I’ve scored 1,000 points.”

SSSD won the game, 53-39.

Mr. Boersma downplayed Demetrius’ deafness in the feat. “Since all of our athletes are deaf, this is an accomplishment,” he said. “But it doesn’t play into his athleticism at all.”

Demetrius has, however, taken advantage of more than basketball at SSSD. He also attends culinary classes at Lackawanna County Career Technology Center. Demetrius’ mom credited the school for her son’s successful development.

“This school has helped him grow tremendously,” Ms. Curtis said. “He loves coming to school, and this school is a wonderful place for deaf children.”

Superintendent Monita Hara, Ed.D., felt sure Demetrius’ success won’t be limited to the hardwood.

“He’s going to go very far in life,” she said.


Western States Basketball Classic

11 02 2009


Posted: 09 Feb 2009 10:20 AM CST

Boys – 1st Team

Jordan Maugh – Oregon
Ben Daniels – Utah
Franico German – PDSD
Eduardo Salgudo – PDSD
Derek Keels – Riverside
Ryan Baldivez – Riverside
Brandon Dean – Fremont
Romel Thurman – Fremont

Girls – 1st Team

Olvia Mackey – Washington
Shani Ambresti – Riverside
Arica Jones – Fremont
Alicia Johnson – Fremont
Esther Cione – Arizona
Jill Apfel – Arizona
Brianca Hamilton – PDSD
Senaid Valaygoney – PDSD

Boys – 2nd Team

Lorne Farovitch – ASDB
Deshawn Moses – Marlton
Taylor Roth – Washington
Kurtis Garcia – Oregon
Joshua Clark – Utah
Thomas Carson – PDSD
Cristian Montes – Riverside
Ronnie Cuartero – Fremont

Girls – 2nd Team

Melissa Mischo – Utah
Priscilla Galvan – Marlton
Melissa McCain – Oregon
Ashleigh Rice – Washington
Angela Ferguson – Riverside
Alexandia Brunkley – Fremont
Raquel Garcia – Arizona
Jessica Diaz – PDSD

Sportsmanship Awards
Boys – Utah
Girls – Phoenix

Cheerleading All-Stars

First Team All-Stars

Jasmine Burnham – Washington
Marco Duarte – Riverside
Porfica Rodriguez – Washington
Mariel Ortiz – Fremont
Marilyn Rivas – Riverside

Second Team All-Stars

Jessi Zeidner – Utah
Shenicqua Malare – Fremont
Alexis Pizano – Fremont
Whitney Ingram – Utah
Ariana Franco – Utah

Honorable Mention

Renee Atkinson – Riverside
Maria Suarez – Washington
Michelle Tambito – Marlton
Rosa Linda Juarez – Marlton
Marisela Conizalez – Marlton

Banner Award: Washington 

Sportsmanship Award: Fremont

Spirit Award (Spirit Stick): Riverside

Cheerleading Competition Awards

Champions: Riverside

2nd Place: Washington

3rd Place: Fremont

A rare bird — MSD’s Ryan Bonheyo

6 02 2009

Towson-round RB/LB is 1st Oriole to get full athletic scholarship to Division I school
Originally published February 05, 2009

By Greg Swatek 860731
News-Post Staff


File Photo

Ryan Bonheyo

On stage before an auditorium full of spectators on a historic day for Maryland School for the Deaf, there was no person who could empathize with the emotions Ryan Bonheyo was feeling more than Laura Lohmeyer.

Six years ago, Lohmeyer became the first student from MSD to play sports on the Division I level when she walked onto the softball team at Mount St. Mary’s.

And it wasn’t until Tuesday morning that she received some company.

On national signing day, Bonheyo formally put his name on a letter of intent to play football for Towson University, becoming the first MSD student to earn a full athletic scholarship to a Division I school.

The Tigers compete on the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.

“It’s a very big honor,” Bonheyo said. “I’ve never had anything like this happen. This is really the event I have been dreaming of for a long time.”

Lohmeyer was among those who joined Bonheyo on stage during a ceremony to commemorate the event that lasted approximately 15 minutes.

After it was over, she said, “It’s quite an accomplishment. Finally, someone else stepped up and put in the workload to reach such a high level.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Bonheyo has wanted to play college football since he saw the game on television as a young boy in Austin, Texas.

It helped that he had strong influences in his own household, such as his father Andy, who is the football coach and athletic director at MSD.

Over the years, Bonheyo was a regular attendee at football camps and spent countless hours working on his game.

As he told those gathered in the auditorium, “It’s not something where you can just think, ‘Oh, I want to play Division I football.'”

At MSD, he quickly became the team’s star running back and inside linebacker. The Orioles went 41-2 and won four Deaf Prep national championships in his four years on the team.

Along the way, Bonheyo put up some staggering rushing numbers, such as 485 carries for 4,528 yards and 66 touchdowns. All of those are school records.

This past season, he led Frederick County in rushing for the second straight season with 1,582 yards and 21 touchdowns despite missing MSD’s final game due to a broken fibula.

If it wasn’t for the injury, Bonheyo would have likely set the school record for yards in a season. He finished 139 short.

“I am very proud of him,” coach Andy Bonheyo said. “With his work ethic, I knew something good was going to happen.”

At Towson, Bonheyo felt comfortable from the moment he stepped on campus.

He liked what he saw and heard about the football program and appreciated the school’s proximity to home, those being the major factors in what he described as an easy decision.

Even when the Tigers overhauled their coaching staff last month and hired Middletown’s Rob Ambrose as the new head coach, Bonheyo felt at ease.

It was Ambrose who tried to recruit Bonheyo while the coach was still the offensive coordinator at the University of Connecticut.

Just last week, Ambrose made a visit to the Bonheyo home to outline some expectations.

“He explained his goals for me in both athletics and academics and pretty much told me what I needed to do,” said Bonheyo, who plans to major in business administration.

Upon arriving at Towson in August for the start of summer practice, Bonheyo will be confronted by immediate changes that might require an adjustment period.

For starters, Bonheyo will not be an offensive player for the Tigers. He will be an outside linebacker, which is a shift from his typical spot inside.

“I will miss running back. That’s been my position all along,” he said. “Making the big plays and scoring touchdowns has been great, but I’ll have to make some adjustments. I really like linebacker, too.”

This will also be the first time that Bonheyo has played on a hearing team since he was 10 years old.

“I will have an interpreter with me at every practice and every game,” he said. “I am not that worried about it.”

Lohmeyer faced similar challenges with the Mount St. Mary’s softball team. Although, she can effectively communicate without sign language.

“Ryan is a great boy. He’s very smart and very humble,” she said. “I am sure he will make everything go smoothly.”

And, like Lohmeyer, Bonheyo hopes to be somewhat of a trailblazer for future athletes at MSD.

Before finishing his remarks on stage, he told his fellow students in the audience, “Hopefully, this event won’t be the first and last. I am the first, but I want this to become a trend.”

2009 Western States Basketball Classic – Scoreboard

2 02 2009

29 Jan 2009 – Thursday

Game 1 – Fremont vs Arizona (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Fremont 10 22 15 13 60
Arizona 6 11 8 2 27
Game 3 – Phoenix vs Utah (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Phoenix 9 10 9 21 49
Utah 1 21 7 10 39
Game 5 – Washington vs Oregon (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Washington 13 15 10 5 43
Oregon 14 16 7 13 50
Stat |
Game 7 – Riverside vs Marlton (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Riverside 14 26 24 10 74
Marlton 13 2 7 3 25
Stat |
Game 2 – Arizona vs Marlton (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Arizona 20 14 15 4 53
Marlton 0 7 2 5 14
Stat |
Game 4 – Washington vs Oregon (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Washington 9 10 11 5 35
Oregon 0 2 6 4 12
Stat |
Game 4 – Washington vs Oregon (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Washington 9 10 11 5 35
Oregon 0 2 6 4 12
Stat |
Game 6 – Phoenix vs Riverside (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Phoenix 17 11 10 6 44
Riverside 5 3 4 12 24
Stat |
Game 8 – Fremont vs Utah (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Fremont 29 12 13 9 63
Utah 7 2 2 8 19
Stat |

30 Jan 2009 – Friday

Game 9 – Marlton vs Oregon (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Marlton 10 11 9 2 32
Oregon 8 5 17 16 46
Stat |
Game 11 – Riverside vs Utah (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Riverside 10 7 8 14 39
Utah 0 7 8 8 23
Stat |
Game 15 – Phoenix vs Fremont (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Phoenix 12 4 14 18 48
Fremont 14 14 9 9 46
Stat |
Game 10 – Arizona vs Washington (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Arizona 11 6 3 11 31
Washington 12 9 7 13 41
Stat |
Game 12 – Utah vs Marlton (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Utah 10 11 15 23 59
Marlton 7 8 6 32 53
Stat |

Game 14 – Fremont vs Oregon (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Fremont 21 14 18 11 64
Oregon 13 4 8 9 34
Stat |

Game 16 – Phoenix vs Riverside (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Phoenix 5 14 4 10 33
Riverside 10 6 10 8 34
Stat |

31 Jan 2009 – Saturday

Game 17 – Washington vs Utah (4th & 6th Place) (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Washington 8 14 17 17 56
Utah 17 14 10 16 57

Game 19 – Arizona vs Marlton (7th & 8th Place) (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Arizona 5 12 15 22 54
Marlton 14 20 20 14 68

Game 21 – Oregon vs Phoenix (3rd & 5th Place) (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Oregon 3 10 0 2 15
Phoenix 20 7 29 4 60

Game 18 – Marlton vs Utah (7th & 8th Place) (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Marlton 15 4 12 10 41
Utah 14 11 12 0 37

Game 20 – Oregon vs Riverside (4th & 6th Place) (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Oregon 7 9 9 4 29
Riverside 12 12 10 16 50
Stat |

Game 22 – Washington vs Fremont (3rd & 5th Place) (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Washington 2 1 7 3 13
Fremont 20 12 12 14 58


Game 23 – Fremont vs Riverside (Championship) (Boys) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Fremont 11 15 11 15 52
Riverside 6 17 14 11 48

Game 24 – Arizona vs Phoenix (Championship) (Girls) – FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
Arizona 18 12 10 4 44
Phoenix 12 8 14 16 50

Western States Basketball Classic #2

2 02 2009

Riverside vs Oregon Girls Photos

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 11:01 AM CST

Cheerleading Competition

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 10:53 AM CST

Live Scores (thanks to Sorenson)

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 10:45 AM CST

We will provide LIVE scores for the championship games. Here’s the link!

Many thanks to Mark Call of Sorenson, our wonderful sponsor, who provided us free WiFi access so we can provide live scores in the gym!

Riverside vs Phoenix Boys Photos

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 03:13 AM CST

Phoenix vs Fremont Girls Photos

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 02:47 AM CST

Oregon vs Fremont Boys Photos

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 02:47 AM CST

Arizona vs Washington Girls Photos

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 02:47 AM CST

Utah vs Marlton Boys Photos

Posted: 31 Jan 2009 02:46 AM CST

Western States Basketball Classic

31 01 2009

Western States Basketball Classic


WSBCC Jan. 30 Schedule

Posted: 29 Jan 2009 03:50 PM CST


Game 10 – Arizona vs Washington [ASDB vs WSD]
Game 12 – Utah vs Marlton [Utah vs. Marlton]
Game 14 – Fremont vs Oregon [CSDF vs. OSD]
Game 16 – Phoenix vs Riverside [PDSD vs. CSDR]


Game 9 – Marlton vs Oregon [Marlton vs. OSD]
Game 11 – Riverside vs Utah [CSDR vs. Utah]
Game 13 – Arizona vs Washington [ASDB vs. WSD]
Game 15 – Phoenix vs Fremont [PDSD vs. CSDF]

Marlton vs CSDR Boys

Posted: 29 Jan 2009 10:46 AM CST

Riverside vs Phoenix Girls Photos

Posted: 29 Jan 2009 09:54 AM CST

Oregon vs Washington Girls Photos

Posted: 29 Jan 2009 08:24 AM CST

Marlton vs Arizona Girls Photos

Posted: 29 Jan 2009 08:08 AM CST

Cheerleading Jump Off, Hot Shot & 3 point Competition

Posted: 29 Jan 2009 05:11 AM CST

3 point

Ronnie Cuartero


Hot Shots

Cody Dike

Alicia Johnson

Team Free Throw



Marco Duarte

(Pennsylvania) Deaf Wrestler teaches teammates about communication, tolerance and understanding

19 01 2009

News from Reading Eagles

Sunday, January 18, 2009

PA Deaf Wrestler

Joe Ferrari shouts out instructions from his coach’s chair the way he has for 18 years at Reading High.

During a Red Knights junior varsity match, Ferrari appears frustrated that he can’t get Ramon Rodriguez’s attention.

Suddenly, in the heat of the moment, Ferrari remembers an important fact: Rodriguez can’t hear him.

Deaf from birth, Rodriguez is unable to speak or hear. But that didn’t prevent him from joining the Red Knights wrestling team for his junior season in November.

“I’d seen wrestling before, and I was interested,” Rodriguez said through Robin Marlin, one of two interpreters provided by the Berks County Intermediate Unit who attend his practices and matches. “I thought it was cool. I wanted to wrestle. I was curious to learn about it and be involved.”

Video: Deaf Wrestler 2

Rodriguez has learned quite a bit from Ferrari and a diverse group of teammates – including a sophomore girl – Rodriguez calls his wrestling family. In return, he has taught plenty to everyone else involved.

To communcate with Rodriguez, wrestlers have done everything from taking a pad and pencil into the wrestling room to learning some basic sign language. Ferrari said most of the wrestlers have learned to sign the alphabet.

“The whole team has learned something from him,” said junior Tim Bauer, one of Rodriguez’s practice partners. “Now it’s gotten to the point where we know just enough where we can sign to him and communicate with him about wrestling and what’s going on. He’s picking everything up so quick. It’s amazing.”

Bauer admitted he was a bit skeptical in November when he learned a deaf student would join the wrestling team. But Bauer, who himself has struggled for acceptance as the goalie of the Reading High field hockey team, welcomed Rodriguez with an open mind.

Two months later, Bauer and his teammates have been pleasantly surprised.

“I thought this was going to be hard, and he wasn’t going to last,” Bauer said. “I started to get to know him and found out he was serious.

“He’s probably one of the most intense people on the team, and he’s probably one of the hardest workers on the team. I didn’t expect to see him be such a hard worker.”

Rodriguez’s dedication has paid off in falls in his last three JV matches at 152 pounds. He also received a chance to wrestle varsity matches in the Canner Duals in Biglerville earlier this month.

“He has really good mat sense; he’s learning quickly,” Ferrari said. “He’s very explosive; he wrestles hard. But he’s still a bit raw. He still has stuff to learn.”

So do Ferrari and Rodriguez’s teammates. They all have needed to make adjustments to welcome Rodriguez to the team.

“It’s way different than anything I’ve done,” Ferrari said. “I still find myself wanting to yell to him when he’s out on the mat. Of course, he’s not going to hear.

“We had to talk to him after the last match because he doesn’t look over enough. We’re trying to get his attention to look over. There’s nothing we can do. We have to sit there and wait until he looks.”
Referees who officiate Rodriguez’s matches also have made adjustments in a sport where they blow a whistle to start and stop the wrestlers.

“I just get a little more emphatic with my hand gestures,” said Jeff Broad, a Berks County official. “When they go out of bounds or the period ends, I just tap him on the back.”

Teaching Rodriguez even the most basic wrestling moves was a challenge, especially in the first days of practice when Marlin and Rodriguez’s other interpreter, Ruth Fisher, knew very little about the sport.

They also had to quickly learn something new in the wrestling room, an environment not conducive to women since it often is filled with sweating male teenagers.

“I think we would both say that at the beginning we both knew very little,” said Marlin, also a teacher at Reading High. “When I personally do something, I have to learn about it. If I don’t understand it, I can’t put it so he can understand it.”

Understanding is what Rodriguez has received the most of since joining the wrestling team. He said he was uncertain what to expect when he attended his first practice.

“I wasn’t worried,” Rodriguez said. “Maybe just a little bit I felt worried. I was nervous because my heart was nervous.”

Ferrari said he considered calling a preseason team meeting to inform his other wrestlers Rodriguez would join the team and talk about how to treat him.

Instead, Ferrari let a team that has received three straight Berks County Wrestling Officials Association sportsmanship awards figure it out.

“I decided to let it go and give my kids credit and see if they’d do a good job with it,” Ferrari said. “It’s been perfect. The kids on the team accepted him really well.”

Now, when Rodriguez wrestles, his teammates often are on the floor to show Rodriguez what move to try or just so they can be seen cheering.

After his three recent wins, Rodriguez came off the mat to teammates who were applauding in sign language.

“He’s so happy with wins,” Ferrari said. “He comes running over and hugs people. It’s really neat.”

But the highlight of the season so far for Rodriguez and Red Knights fans was Dec. 20, Rodriguez’s 17th birthday. After a win over Twin Valley, Rodriguez was presented two cakes and watched his teammates sign, not sing, “Happy Birthday.”

“It certainly brought tears to my eyes, and Ramon was very moved,” said Pat Reinik, a retired Reading School District teacher who manages the concession stand. “I must give the coaches so much credit for giving this kid a chance at normalcy.”

Rodriguez said he has enjoyed the experience so much he plans to join the boys volleyball team in the spring and is even considering playing football next fall during his senior season.

No matter what Rodriguez decides, Bauer said he would be a welcome addition to any team.

“He’s great to have on the team,” Bauer said. “Sometimes I wish other wrestlers were as fun as him. He always has energy; he’s always motivated and always likes to have fun. It’s great.”

© 2009 Reading Eagle Company