Cadets spread good words, good will at school for deaf, blind

  • Published
  • By David Edwards
  • Academy Spirit staff writer
Cadet 2nd Class Zach Barrington's recent work in the recording studio sounded double-platinum to his loyal listeners.

But Cadet Barrington wasn't laying down tracks for any record label or future iTunes selection. He was lending his voice to audio books destined for children at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

He and several classmates in Behavior Science 310, a leadership core class, were told to plan and execute a community-service project as part of their coursework.

"We wanted to do something that would be enjoyable and not feel like a chore just because it was a course requirement," said Cadet 2nd Class Ana Ruiz. "Then we decided that it would be great to bring the joy of our favorite children's stories to those who cannot read. We all remember the impact a good bedtime story had on us, so we wanted to share that."

Cadet 2nd Class Brian Paredes, who is majoring in behavioral science, had previous experience with the School for the Deaf and the Blind, and he suggested it to the group. Both sides responded to the proposal enthusiastically.

Cadet Barrington used his connections at Academy radio station KAFA to secure studio time. Then he went to work recording books for an audience of blind children in Colorado Springs.

In addition, on Dec. 7, a group of seven cadets, including four in the leadership class, went to the School for the Deaf and the Blind to read to students.

"This first started out as being a one-time thing since it was a course requirement," Cadet Ruiz said. "But after talking with some members of the group that helped plan the project, we decided it would be great to try to make this a continuous project, especially since the school enjoyed it. We are already planning for doing this again next year."

Diane Covington, a representative of the School for the Deaf and the Blind, said the school is "very fortunate and grateful" to have such a fruitful relationship with the Air Force Academy.

Besides the book project, cadets have helped the school in several other ways. This past weekend, several cadets volunteered to spend their Saturday keeping score and doing other tasks at a regional wrestling tournament hosted by the school.

Recording books for the school's blind students is yet another example of that partnership, and it has inspired great happiness and enthusiasm in all involved.

"In terms of impact, I would say that the cadets, in their efforts to record and share their favorite children's books, have made several stories accessible to our young students who are blind or visually impaired," Ms. Covington said. "Now our students have the opportunity to listen to books that the library did not already own."