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June 16, 2006

Winners Announced in Gallaudet National Essay and Art Contests

From: Gallaudet - Jun 16, 2006

For Immediate Release
Contact:            Susan Flanigan
Telephone:        202-651-5340 (Voice/TTY)

“The Sky’s the Limit”: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Look to the Future Through Writing and Art
Winners Announced in Gallaudet National Essay and Art Contests

(Washington) The Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center has announced the winners of the annual Gallaudet National Essay and Art Contests for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. Over 200 students throughout the country entered the contests. Through writing and drawing, the students envisioned their futures as they responded to this year’s contest questions: “What will I be doing when I’m 30 years old? How am I preparing for it today?”

All of the art and excerpts from the essays are on display in the Washburn Arts Center on the Gallaudet University campus in an exhibition that will remain through August 11. Celebrate!, a new Clerc Center publication which showcases deaf and hard of hearing students’ work, will present the winning essays and art that are also displayed on the Clerc Center’s website:

Essay Winners

First prize winner in the essay contest is Kira Lee Roberts, from the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton, who writes in “Seeing Myself in 2017” of her dream to one day “successfully run a horse ranch which offers rehabilitation for children with disabilities or for those who suffered emotional trauma.” As first place winner, Roberts will receive a $1,000 scholarship, an amount that will double should she elect to attend Gallaudet University.

In her essay “No Lucky Penney for Me!,” second place winner Samantha Jean Krieger, from the Indiana School for the Deaf in Indianapolis, visualizes herself at a Paris café having established herself as “teaching English and American Sign Language to children in Europe in 2020.” In her essay “Thursday’s Child,” third place winner Victoria Jane LeBlanc, from the British Columbia School for the Deaf in Burnaby, acknowledges that although she has considered many occupations, she still doesn’t know what she will do at 30, but she is certain that she “will be looking back on [my] life without any regret; and more importantly, I will be greeting the future with a salute…I will continue to dream.” Krieger and LeBlanc will receive $500 and $300 scholarships, respectively, with the amount doubled should they elect to attend Gallaudet University.

Two students received Honorable Mention scholarships of $100 each: Samuel Alexander Mathews, from the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston, Georgia, for “Inventor: Making Lives Better”; and Sarah Honigfeld, from Hall High School in West Hartford, Connecticut, for “Opening a School: Letter from the Future.”

Three students received Judges’ Choice awards: Kyle Kuschmider, from the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe, for “The Future When I Turn 30 Years Old”; Anna Hanger, from the Atlanta School for the Deaf, for “Child Life Specialist: Helping Children”; and Christine Steinmetz, from Oak Ridge High School in Conroe, Texas, for “Seventeen Going on 30.”

Editor’s Awards were earned by: Rachel Noell King, from R. E. Lee High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for “Massage Therapist: Helping Grandmother Leads to Career Dream”; Melissa Ann Smith, from the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton, for “Counselor: I Like Helping People”; and Jeremy Stockman, from the Kansas School for the Deaf, for “Entrepreneur: For Good Salary, Pleasant Climate, Striving for a High Act.” 

Art Winners

First prize in the art contest went to Michelle Mansfield-Hom, from the Maryland School for the Deaf in Frederick, for her depiction of herself in A Deaf Optometrist. Tyler West, from the Indiana School for the Deaf, won second prize for Illustrator. The third prize was awarded to Meiyu Chan, from Vernon Hills High School in Vernon Hills, Illinois, for Goal Pursuer. Mansfield-Hom, West, and Chan will receive $500, $100, and $75, respectively.

Three Judges’ Choice awards were given to: Gabriela Perrusquia, from the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville, for The Future is in My Hands; Trista Taylor, from the Maryland School for the Deaf, for Kennel Owner; and Carly Eyrich, from Zuni Hills Elementary in Sun City, Arizona, for Then and Now.

Eleven students received Honorable Mentions: Amanda Lynn Topper, from the Signature School in Evansville, Indiana, for Seeing My Future; MeiLi Klinger, from the Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf in West Trenton, New Jersey, for Travel to Learn; Cynthia Tavares, from the Murry Bergtraum High School in New York, New York, for Crossword Dreams; Andreana West, from the Indiana School for the Deaf, for Dolphin Trainer; Curtis Dobias, from the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs, for When I Am 30 Years Old, I Will Be an Electrician; Brittany Bolton, from Waterford Union High School in Waterford, Wisconsin, for A New Generation; Jessica Arevalo, from the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, for Animation Artist; Laura Schaffer, from Burke High School in Omaha, Nebraska, for Wildcat Preservation; Trudaline McNece, from the New Mexico School for the Deaf in Santa Fe, for Pathway to the Future; Matthew Sachse, from the Maryland School for the Deaf, for Tile Maker; and Jennifer Elliott, from the Iowa School for the Deaf, for Studying Hard Now So I Will Be a Good Teacher.

“Students wrote and drew about a wide variety of career choices,” said contest co-coordinator Timothy Worthylake. “Our nation’s classrooms are filled with deaf and hard of hearing students who will become nurses, plumbers, doctors, computer game programmers, makers of prosthetic devices, Oxford professors, basketball players, dolphin trainers, and many other professions and occupations. Today the sky is the limit for deaf and hard of hearing students who are willing to work hard and fulfill their dreams.”

Worthylake thanked the essay contest judges, who were from Gallaudet University: Jane Nickerson, professor of English; David Tossman, Visitor Center coordinator; and Chris Heuer, poet, writer, and English associate professor. He also thanked the art contest judges: Linda Jordan, ceramic artist and instructor, and Scott Carollo, assistant art professor, from Gallaudet University; and Shawn Richardson, artist, who works on National Historic Preservation magazine.

Worthylake also expressed deep appreciation to contest donors: The Mildred Albronda Memorial Trust, which donated the beautiful coffee table book, Douglas Tilden: The Man and His Legacy, by Mildred Albronda; and Gallaudet University Press, which donated the new book Deaf in Dehli, the story of author Madan Vasishta, who became deaf while growing up in India and who made his way to the United States.

In the next essay and art contests, the Clerc Center teams up with the U.S. Deaflympics Committee and asks students to respond to the questions: “What does ‘going for the gold’ mean to you? How do you go for the gold in your life?” For more information, visit:

The Clerc Center includes Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, the Model Secondary School for the Deaf, and associated research, evaluation, training, and dissemination services.  Our mission is to promote outstanding educational practices and to maximize educational opportunities of deaf and hard of hearing students from birth through age 21 by sharing our programs, publishing accurate and balanced information, providing news and information to families and educators, and highlighting the projects and activities developed by educators, researchers, families, and professionals throughout the country.