I See What You’re Saying


Photo by Lauren Lu


People are alike in some aspects. We see things, smell things and taste things. We feel what we touch.

Most of us hear things.

I don’t.

I was born deaf. On my dad’s side, deafness is hereditary. But my mom – she was born hearing into a hearing family. She became sick and as a result is deaf.

My brother and I are the third generation of deaf children born into the family.

In Framingham, MA, the city where I was born, I attended the Learning Center for Deaf. Before I entered fourth grade, my parents decided to move to Indiana to find a better education for me and my brother.

So, we came here, and I enrolled in and attended the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD), from 2006 to 2009.

After going to ISD for about three years, I was feeling frustrated and not challenged academically. I asked my parents if I could consider transferring to a mainstream school. I planned to enroll in the school near my house, Clay Middle School. I wanted to split my school day, attending Clay Middle School for a half day, and then travelling to ISD. I decided to stay at Clay Middle mostly for the educational challenge it provided, but transportation problems also factored in.

Falling in love with the atmosphere, I wanted to try to attend for a full year.

I did not return to ISD. I did not want to.

Being deaf is not that much different from being hard of hearing or hearing.

“Deaf people can do anything hearing people can do, except hear,” Irving King Jordan, former president of Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts college for the Deaf in the world, once said.

I try to apply his philosophy to my education.


“Deaf people can do anything hearing people can do, except hear,” Irving King Jordan, former president of Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts college for the Deaf in the world, once said.


For example, in a normal classroom setting, the majority of the students have to look at the teacher, their notes on their desks and the board. I do the same, but I have an extra place to look: the interpreter.

Another example is with respect to my culture. I am a part of the Deaf society, one of many diverse lifestyles at this school.

Overall, I am an ordinary high school student, like all other students. We have similar roles in school, which go along the lines of waking up early in the morning, going to school, studying for tests, doing homework and more.

Even if I do not have an interpreter with me, I can still interact with you through gestures, writing, or sometimes, lip reading.

I do not feel any different from the rest of the kids at CHS. I grew up deaf just like other kids grew up hearing. We are very similar; we merely use different means to communicate. We simply speak different languages.

Like everyone else, I have hopes and ambitions for the future. Since I was little, I always wanted to go to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), which is in Rochester, New York. My mom attended college there. At RIT, there is an entire branch of the college specifically dedicated to Deaf students called the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

The college is mainstream; Deaf and hearing students go to school together.

I still have not decided what to major in, but I think it would be cool to major in science, culinary arts or education.

My decision to transfer to a mainstream school provided me with the opportunity to discover that I am not really that different from students who can hear.

I simply use a different language.


Dara Levy is a staff photographer for the Acumen. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily represent the views of the Acumen or the Acumen staff. You may reach Dara at daralevy@chsacumen.com


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Dara Levy