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The New Mexican
By Robert Nott
Sun Feb 1, 2015.

For years, Ronald Stern felt like a foreign visitor in this world. Born deaf, he attended a mainstream public school in New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. He heard nothing around him and could not participate in any discussions or activities without writing notes.

“I couldn’t even eavesdrop on conversations,” he said. “I was taught to think that I was disabled … handicapped.”

The experience made an indelible impression upon him: “There is nothing more dehumanizing than being unable to connect with others around you. If you are not an active member of the community, whether at home or at school, you feel like a visitor rather than a member. … You lose a lot of dignity.”

Today, as superintendent of the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe, Stern, 62, works to connect his students to the world around them, a task made easier by technology and email, he said. But he is stepping down from the position this summer, retiring after 15 years on the job.

Read More . . . Ronald Stern




TEEN Santa Fe New Mexican
By Raina Wellman
January 15, 2015

The Kenneth E. Brasel Centennial Museum is a small but packed museum adjacent to the library at the New Mexico School for the Deaf on Cerrillos Road. After walking through the glass door entrance, a portrait of the school’s first superintendent, Lars Larson, greets the visitor. In 1885, Larson came to New Mexico and founded the “Territorial Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb,” as the school was then known. Larson began his school with six students. In the log of the first students to enter the original NMSD — which is among the museum’s exhibits — it documents the hometowns of students, including some locations that no longer exist. Many students were born deaf but some came due to illnesses like scarlet fever and smallpox.

The school states that the museum “is dedicated to the history in honor of our hearing impaired students of yesterday, today, and tomorrow … so that they may know and be proud of their history.” The museum is a celebration of deaf students’ story and the long way that deaf education and equality for the deaf has come. Larson is quoted as saying, “It cannot be denied that the deaf and the blind have the right to receive education just as their other brethren do.”

Read More  . . .




ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Balloon pilots can’t do it without their crew, but what if your crew is deaf? One pilot at Fiesta this year had deaf balloon_NMcrew members, but he says it can be an advantage.

Balloon Pilot Colin Graham has a unique crew – a third of them are deaf or hard of hearing.

So how do they communicate? It just so happens his wife and crew chief Brittany Graham is a sign language interpreter by trade.

“We’re using sign language and English all at the same time. It gets a little confusing, but it’s amazing,” said Brittany Graham.

The crew and its pilot met by chance when the three came to sign up to crew. At first, they didn’t know if they’d find one.

“We were lost. I forced the boys to come in and figure it out with me, to show us where it was, and that exact minute we were walking out, Brittany was walking in and like that, she came up to us. I’m thinking back to that day and thinking, if we hadn’t gotten lost, we would have missed her,” explains Aly Kent.

“I was the one that pointed out to her that they were signing and so I said, hey, look at that, they’re signing,” says Colin Graham.

It was a perfect match. In fact, the Grahams said signing can work to their advantage.

“What’s great about Balloon Fiesta with a group of deaf people is that even in the midst of a crowd or the fans, we can talk from a quarter mile away. Stand on a truck bed, talk across the crowd,” Brittany Graham explained.

Kent said she and her husband, Jason Siergey, wanted to fly last year, but it was just too challenging to communicate.

That’s not the case this year.  Read More. . . .

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