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February 29, 2004

Deaf ed workshop kicks off 12th year

From: Salt Lake Tribune - Salt Lake City,UT,USA - Feb 29, 2004

By Tyler Riggs
Special to The Tribune

LOGAN -- Deaf education students and educators gathered Saturday to exchange ideas and hear from leaders in the field at the 12th annual USU Deaf Education Students Association (DESA) Winter Workshop.

About 60 students and teachers from Boise to Salt Lake City -- a smaller-than-expected number because of the weather -- attended the workshop. Participants shared information and ideas such as the role of deaf children in the educational process and the involvement of parents and family in development, said Freeman King, USU's director of deaf education.

"We're always trying to have workshops with some meat that people can leave here feeling good about," he said. "Hopefully they can take things back to their respective programs that they didn't have before, or maybe reinforce what they did have."

The workshop featured three graduates of USU's deaf education program, Piper Benjamin, Shelia Robertson and Michelle Tanner.

Being able to see the successes of other graduates was one of the highlights of the workshop, said Kristi Quintana, vice president of the DESA.

"It is really nice to know that Utah State truly has a program that is different from any other program in the United States," she said. "It does prepare us for the real world."

Robertson, a teacher for the deaf in the Meridian School District in Boise, said her experience in USU's program helped her get to where she is.

"Being a well-rounded person, having all of the skills it takes to meet all of those students' needs, that's what USU gave me," she said.

"It is a political fight; it is hard out there. USU gives you the strength, courage and empowerment to continue to fight for what you have to fight for when you get out there."

Robert Sanderson, director of the Sanderson Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, spoke to those in attendance in the morning. Angel Ramos, superintendent of the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind also spoke of his experiences and participated in a panel discussion where students could ask questions about the programs available for deaf students.

© Copyright 2004, The Salt Lake Tribune.