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ASD to Host Inaugural Sea Perch Challenge for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

ASD students at a previous tournament. Courtesy photo

West Hartford-based American School for the Deaf to host first ever International Deaf/HH Sea Perch Challenge.

A middle school student from American School for the Deaf works on her ROV. Courtesy photo


In 2017 the American School for the Deaf (ASD) established the very first deaf team to compete in a Sea Perch competition – an underwater robotics program designed to teach students to build underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs).

In 2019, ASD was the very first deaf team to compete at the International Sea Perch Challenge. It was later revealed that no schools or programs for the deaf had ever worked with ROV’s.

ASD teachers set out to change this fact by engaging other programs/schools for the deaf. They started very small by reaching out to Colegio San Gabriel, a deaf school in Puerto Rico. A very limited competition was held in March 2020 (the beginning of COVID) with only two schools for the deaf, ASD and Colegio San Gabriel.

With the assistance of NTID Regional STEM Center, ASD has been able to reach out to some additional schools this year, and the International Deaf/Hard of Hearing Sea Perch Challenge will bring together 16 teams from six schools for the deaf for the first time, on Tuesday, March 3 at Ethel Walker School.

The competition will begin at 10:30 a.m. and awards will be presented at The American School for the Deaf at 2:30 p.m..

The size and number of teams was still limited this year due to COVID-19, but plans are to include more teams in future years.

The winner of this challenge will travel to the International Sea Perch Challenge in Maryland where they will compete with hearing students from teams of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, Australia, and many other countries.

Those present on the day of the competition will be the regional outreach coordinator for RoboNation/Sea Perch as well as the director and staff from the NTID regional STEM center. ASD is hosting the competition at Ethel Walker School, which has generously donated the pool, lifeguards, and divers for the event.

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