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July 7, 2006

Pierpont woman wins national title

From: Aberdeen American News - Aberdeen,SD,USA - Jul 7, 2006

Chelsea Tobin named Miss Deaf America

By Gretchen Mayer
American News Writer

The competition was tough in Palm Desert, Calif. But not too tough for Pierpont resident Chelsea Tobin.

She's been down this road before. Tobin, one of 27 young women from around the country, was crowned Miss Deaf America 2006-2008 at the National Association of the Deaf convention in Palm Desert on Monday. The 19-year-old deaf education major from Augustana College will now spend the next two years as ambassador for the deaf community in America.

Among her many credits: she represented Langford in the Snow Queen contest, attended Girls State in Brookings and went on to Girls Nation, was on the high school yearbook staff for one year, was in oral interpretation, was involved in Barrier Awareness Day for several years, was in volleyball and played basketball as a sophomore, attended the Youth Leadership Forum in Vermillion and later attended as a counselor and then as guest speaker.

But Monday evening was one of extreme highs as Tobin's family - mother Evelyn, sisters Rachel and Shauna and father Rodney - watched the crown being placed on her head. The next morning was an extreme low when the family got news that Evelyn's mother, Ethel May Chell of Britton, had passed away at 87. "Our emotions were at one end of the spectrum and at 5:30 the next morning at the other end of the spectrum," said Evelyn. "Chelsea wants to give a eulogy at the funeral."

The memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Monday in Bristol.

Tobin was one of 27 women representing different states at the biennial National Association of the Deaf convention. The South Dakota Association of the Deaf selected Tobin to represent the state.

Tobin, a graduate of Langford High School, will head to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., this August as a visiting student. Gallaudet is the only college in the world strictly for deaf students.

Tobin wants to become a teacher for deaf children. Her platform, Vanquishing Audism, reflects a mission of the NAD to fight against the discrimination that happens because a person is deaf, whether external or internal.

Tom Kober, president of the South Dakota Association for the Deaf, said, "South Dakota sent its best to the competition. Chelsea Tobin will be an outstanding ambassador for the deaf community in America. Chelsea worked hard for this, in personal development and in teamwork with her committee."

Besides the interview and evening gown part of the competition, Chelsea performed her talent, "Dr. Seuss ASLized!" with pieces from the Dr. Seuss books, "Oh, the Places You'll Go," and "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut." According to a press release, Tobin "wowed the crowds" at the convention with her performance. ASL refers to American Sign Language.

Here is a passage from "Oh, the Places You'll Go:"

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes, You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."

Chelsea Tobin seems to know just where she's going.

© 2006 American News and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.