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MSSD and D.C.’s Hyde school collaborate for rugby glory

December 17, 2009
Arrow Buff

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Two die-hard rugby fans, Tal Bayerand and Mark Burke, got together last year with an idea. Burke, the athletic director at the Clerc Center, wanted to start a rugby team at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) and Bayerand, rugby coach at the Hyde Leadership Public Charter School, had an established team. What if the two teams worked together, they thought, with the Hyde players sharing with the MSSD players what they had learned about the game. The two groups of students used different modes of communication, and no precedent for an all-deaf rugby team existed, but the coaches believed the partnership could work.

The collaboration launched in spring 2009, and this fall the two teams met again for practice and training at Hyde. Together, they prepared for a match in the 13th Annual Ambassador’s Shield event on November 14, in which both league and amateur teams competed. The two played a close game, with MSSD emerging as the winner, 22-17.

The story of the two teams caught the attention of Fox Media, and on the day of the practice, Fox sent a camera crew to make a documentary about the two schools for its “Real American Stories” series. The story, entitled “Giving Back … An Inner-City School Teaches Rugby to a School for the Deaf,” highlights how the two teams from very different backgrounds found a way to learn and share with each other as both friends and competitors.

The documentary first aired on “Fox Inside News” on December 7. View the story, with captions, on the Real American Stories website or below. 

17 December 2009

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