These kids have a need for speed.
About two dozen students from the Washington State School for the Blind hit the powder Thursday, heading up to Marble Mountain Sno-Park for a day of snowmobiling, sledding and snowball fights. Members of the Mount St. Helens Trac Riders Snowmobile Club donated their time and expertise, with students riding along on the back of their snowmobiles.
The Washington State School for the Blind serves visually impaired students from across the state, but it’s not all academics. Adrienne Fernandez is the recreation and volunteer coordinator for the school, where she oversees excursions and activities for students.
“They’re just like any other kid who wants to go in the snow and have fun and go fast,” Fernandez said.
The snowy excursion has long been a staple field trip for students from the Washington State School for the Blind, but the school stopped making the trek after the snow shelter at Marble Mountain was destroyed in 2011.
“There wasn’t a place for students to come in and get warm,” Fernandez said.
After years of volunteer efforts, however, the shelter reopened in 2018, and students returned to the park for the first time in 2019.
Fernandez said this and other activities are a key part of blind and visually impaired students’ learning, even though they might not be able to see the snow and trees whipping past.
“People with vision learn by sight,” Fernandez said. “If you don’t have sight, you have to have experience.”