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February 10, 2005

Good vibrations

From: Whittier Daily News, CA - Feb 10, 2005

At Deaf Prom, students will dance to the feel of music

By Mike Sprague , Staff Writer

LA MIRADA -- When La Mirada High seniors Leslie Estefani and Leslie Gonzalez go to the prom on May 6, they won't be listening to to the music. They can't. You see, they're deaf.

But most of the students present also will be unable to hear the music.

The 13th annual Deaf Prom is open to all deaf and hard-of- hearing students from all over Southern California. It will be held this year at the Amada Club Plaza in Buena Park.

Estefani and Gonzalez, who both live in Norwalk and attend La Mirada High School, are president and vice president of the school's American Sign Language Club, which is sponsoring the Deaf Prom.

They and the six other members of the club have been working since last summer to find a location and do all the other work involved. Now they're trying to raise $12,000 to help defray the cost of tickets.

Gonzalez, 18, volunteered the school to host the prom when she attended the Deaf Prom last year.

"I had a great time last year,' she said. "I danced the whole time I was there.'

Now she wants to make sure that others can have the same experience.

"We wanted to be in charge, try something new and get a new experience,' she said.

The Deaf Prom gives hearing- impaired students an opportunity to meet others like them from other schools, said Denise Lopez, the high school's specialist for the deaf and hard of hearing.

"They love to dance as much as anybody else,' she said.

There is music and a DJ at the prom. While the students can't hear the music, they can feel it.

It's like when a car with a boom box goes down the street. You may not hear the music, but you can feel the shakes and rattles, Lopez said.

Organizing the prom has been a good experience for the club members, said Assistant Principal Andrew Wiblemo.

"It was a big project for them,' he said. "They had to use a lot of real-world skills. They went on the Internet and did research.'

In figuring out where to hold the prom, the students put together a map locating all schools with deaf students and found the most central location.

Raising the money has been tougher. They've sent fliers out to local businesses and other individuals and groups in their search for sponsors. They also plan to sell churros at the school's multicultural day.

Those wanting to donate money for the prom can call Lopez at (562) 868-0431, Ext. 3477.

-- Mike Sprague can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3022, or by e-mail at .

© 2005 Whittier Daily News