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May 22, 2003

Hearing impaired student excels at DCHS

From: Plainfield Flyer Group, IN - May 22, 2003

By Brenda L. Holmes

Flyer Staff Writer

DANVILLE -- Tiffany Spears will soon hold an open house celebrating her graduation from Danville Community High School, a day she never thought would come.

Tiffany, who is hearing impaired, didn't get to attend DCHS until her senior year.

"We've tried to many years, but they didn't accept her," her mother, LaMonda Spears, said. "Since she's been there, she's made straight A's. This is where she wanted to be most of her life. She's been attending school since she was 18-months-old and now she's 19. She deserves some time off."

Tiffany has attended the Indiana Deaf School and Ben Davis High School. She began school here at the beginning of the second trimester and is accompanied by an interpreter.

"I wanted to go here because this is where I live and this is where my friends are," she said.

Principal James Land admitted that there was some apprehension when it came to enrolling a deaf student.

"She came in at Christmas time and we were very concerned in the beginning," Land said. "But it went very smoothly. She blended so well that most people didn't realize she was here."

Economics teacher Bill Bradshaw said he also had his doubts.

"As a teacher, I was apprehensive," he said. "I had no idea what it would be like to have a deaf student and an interpreter in class."

After two trimesters, Bradshaw says he's thankful for the experience.

"I think the experience has given me a better viewpoint of people with hearing loss," he said. "It was a good experience. It was just like having any other student in the class."

Counselor Stephanie Cassidy said having Tiffany as a student has been a positive experience for all concerned.

"Every kid is treated on an individual basis," she said. "But I would hope this good experience will help us in the future. We were planning for her to come back next year, but we were able to move things around and classes she took fit, so she'll be graduating. She went to prom and looked beautiful. I think her interpreter has been a huge part of her success. She helps to bridge the gap."

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