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December 19, 2003

The Future of Virginia, School of the Deaf and the Blind Still Uncertain

From: WHSV, VA - Dec 19, 2003

Sonia Randev

The them for this year's homecoming weekend is Staunton and VSDB forever. The students and staff decided on the theme in support to keep their school open.

"I like it, it's a great place to be with people who are deaf and easier to learn, " says Nick Helsh, a student. The task force in charge of making recommendations to the governor voted seven to five, in favor of closing both schools in Staunton and Hampton, and, building a new facility. Superintendent Nancy Armstrong, who is on the task force voted to keep her school open.

"We have twenty two buildings here on 77 acres and we are located in Staunton, which has been a city that has worked with our deaf community. There are lots of things you talk about when you talk about relocating a facility, our children have the freedom to walk downtown, and we teach them orientation and mobility," She says.

For students like Nick Helsh and Tammy Doss, who have been going here for the last five years, this is more than just a school.

"If we go to a new school, it’s gonna feel like a new home. This school makes the children feel like its a their home," says Tammy Doss.

"I don't think its right because most of the kids here have parents and grandparents and people before that that have gone to this school, its like a tradition to them," says Nick Helsh.

The general assembly will vote on the issue sometime in January.

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