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May 21, 2007

Deaf students excel in Memphis City Schools

From: WREG - Memphis,TN,USA - May 21, 2007

MEMPHIS, TN - Bobby and Randall Jackson are identical twins, both deaf at birth. They had to take special education classes in school to learn while living with their hearing disability; but that all changed for them in middle school.

Bobby Jackson says, "I kept answering questions, but the teacher noticed it was too simple for me." That's when counselors recommended they enroll in the hearing impaired program at White Station Middle School.

Years later, as seniors graduating with honors, the brothers have exceeded expectations. Bobby was accepted to an elite math and science program at the University of Washington. Randall, a talented artist, will attend the Rochester Institute of Technology this fall. And they both take the obstacles they've faced in stride.

Randal Jackson says, "How can you not go out into the world having not faced any challenges?"

Their younger sister, Carmen, discovered she was hearing impaired at age 13. She says, "I found it hard to work in the environment because there was no interpreter."

At White Station's hearing impaired program, counselors help deaf students perform in high level courses while still being in classes with everyone else.

Counselor, Teresa Wilson, says, "They are very bright young people. It's a great to work with them and watch them grow."

Students also showcase their talents in "Deaf Drama" and compete in academic bowls. "My sign language has gotten so much better," says Carmen Jackson. "My GPA went up as soon as I got here."

On the high school level, White Station High School has the only full-service, comprehensive program for deaf students in Memphis. It also houses one of the largest programs of its kind in the country. The Memphis City Schools hearing impaired program has 65 students in grades 9 through 12.

Posted by Theo Travers

© 2007 WREG