Sequim pupils reading Boys in the Boat novel; author to speak in Port Angeles in fall

SEQUIM — The impact of Joe Rantz and his Olympic Games teammates just keeps growing.

A collaboration between the Sequim School District and Sequim Education Foundation has put into the hands of students 500 copies of The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown’s account of the eight-man crew from the United States that won gold at the 1936 Olympics.

Brown also plans to speak in Port Angeles in the fall.

Port Angeles visit

Brown’s talk is set for Saturday, Oct. 29, in the Port Angeles High School auditorium at 304 E. Park Ave.

The presentation will be open to Sequim and Port Angeles students, and admission will be free.

Originally published June 4, 2013, The Boys in the Boat centers its story on Rantz, who had early ties to Sequim, attending Sequim High School for a time and marrying a Sequim resident.

Nellie Bridge, a Sequim High English language arts teacher, applied for a grant from the Sequim Education Foundation to buy 500 books: 250 copies of the Young Readers Adaptation for the middle school and 250 copies of the original edition for the high school for students in grades 6-12.

Books arrived in mid-February, and Sequim teachers are assigning readings to their students, district officials said.

Major donors for the book purchase project included Sound Community Bank ($2,500), Sequim’s Trinity United Methodist Church ($1,000) and Soroptimist International of Sequim ($1,000).

On a visit to Sequim in November 2015, Judy Willman — Rantz’s daughter and a key figure in promoting her father’s legacy — learned of the local effort for a school-wide read of The Boys in the Boat from Sequim High librarian/teacher Linsay Rapelje.

“Judy gladly volunteered to talk with Dan [Brown] for us and even offered to be part of his presentation,” Rapelje said.

Less than a week after their conversation, Rapelje said she received an email from Brown saying he’d volunteer to do a community presentation and fundraiser for the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association.”

For more information about the project, call Patsene Dashiell, communications director for the Sequim School District, at 360-582-3264.

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The Olympic Peninsula News Group is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum.

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