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July 7, 2003

Twins inspired by mom

From: Fremont News Messenger, OH - Jul 7, 2003

By JILL FICK Special to the; News-Messenger

Clayton McCoy of Gibsonburg will readily admit he's been stubborn.

But his mother, Harriet, and Terra Community College instructor Brent Borden have inspired him to open his mind to American Sign Language -- something that has been both a blessing for the family and a career option for McCoy.

Harriet McCoy is deaf. She knows sign language, but twin sons Clayton and Clinton chose not to learn it as they were growing up.

"We just finger spelled," Clayton McCoy said. "I think we were just too stubborn to use it. It seemed too difficult at the time."

But that all changed when Clayton enrolled in a sign language course at Terra. He found that ASL is not really difficult at all. On Friday, June 13, Clayton graduated with an associate's degree in American Sign Language. He has been accepted to Bowling Green State University and will begin work this fall toward a bachelor's degree in deaf education. He plans to teach children with either mild or moderate hearing loss.

"Both my mom and Brent inspired me," he said. "I use sign language at home a lot more than I ever did before."

And Clayton McCoy, in turn, inspired his twin to take a class.

"Clayton told me that Clinton took my class after noticing how much better he signed with their deaf mother and got somewhat jealous," Borden, who is also deaf, said in a written statement.

Clinton McCoy admits his brother's decision pushed him to check out ASL as well. He needs three more classes before he can graduate from Terra in winter quarter, and then plans to major in the same thing as Clayton at Bowling Green.

"As soon as I started taking the classes, I was very eager to learn," "(Clayton) was pretty much done with classes when I started ... I saw how much fun he was having with it and wanted to be part of it."

The boys' mother concurred.

"Jealousy was involved there," Harriet McCoy said through an interpreter. "That's how the twins work."

But Borden thinks there was more to the story.

"The other reason they took my class was that those twin brothers had been finger spelling to their mother ever since they were born," Borden said. "That is the Rochester Method, meaning all the messages and communication between them and their mother were all finger spelled. I am sure the mother must have gotten fed up or bored with that method and from what she told me she had pushed and encouraged them to take up ASL courses. I truly feel that they took these courses to show their support, respect and love for their mother."

However it evolved, Harriet McCoy is just happy that it did.

"I've always hoped the boys would be interested in the deaf culture but I wanted them to decide that," she said through an interpreter. "I will support them in whatever they do, whether it's interpreting or teaching."

Harriet said she and her boys attend more deaf functions now than ever before and she appreciates the fact that the family can do more socializing.

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