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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Deaf students speak on tough reality

The American Sign Language Club hosted a meeting on Monday about educational troubles that deaf students face and how those problems can be fixed.

A panel of four deaf students gathered in the Fe Bland Forum on West Campus to share their educational experiences of being hearing impaired. About 200 people attended the event that was sponsored by the Inter Club Council. This was the ASL Club’s sixth panel meeting.

“I went to a school where the ambition was to get the deaf students to just meet the minimum requirements but that’s not what I want,” said City College student Dulce De La Garza. “I want to do as well as hearing students.”

The panel was made up of deaf students Hugo Martinez and Dani Duran from Northridge, Alicia Ponce from San Marcos High School, and Dulce De La Garza from City College.

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The ASL Club’s president Omar Gonzales and the ASL professor Ignacio Ponce introduced the panel and the subject of the evening.

Each of the students spoke about the tough reality of being the only deaf student in school.

“It was hard to communicate with the other students, which is really frustrating,” Ponce said. “But when I started high school I met more deaf students but also hearing people who were easier to communicate with.”

In order to do well in school, deaf students need transcribers and interpreters who will help them understand as much as the hearing students.

“Easy arrangements like sitting face to face with students and the teacher in a classroom instead of in rows, will make a big difference,” Ponce said.

De La Garza pointed out that even though some efforts have been made to help deaf students in school, “the educational system is still far behind.”

The speakers also emphasized how helpful and important it is that deaf students are able to learn how to use ASL and that their parents follow their lead so they can communicate effectively at home.

“Santa Barbara doesn’t have much of a deaf community so it’s hard to meet other deaf teenagers,” said Martinez, who is majoring in graphic design at California State University in Northridge.

“I really enjoy going to CSUN which is a great school with a really good deaf community. I feel like I belong there,” he continued and Duran agreed.

Duran talked about the importance of positive role models for deaf children and teenagers. She recently won the Miss Deaf award at CSUN, putting her in a perfect position to be that kind of roll model. All of the speakers agreed about the importance of taking pride in one’s self.

“I’m deaf and proud of myself and I’ve worked hard to get where I am today,” Martinez said.

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