IM this article to a friend!

May 16, 2007

Shana-Ka Lewis - Wins communication contest for the deaf

From: Jamaica Gleaner - Kingston,Jamaica - May 16, 2007

Twenty-three students between ages 10 and 19 participated in a sign language competition on Saturday, but it was Shana-Ka Lewis of the Cassia Park Branch of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD) who took the top spot.

The competition, Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, was staged by the Caribbean District Optimist International a Court Hotel in St. Andrew.

The 23 students, with their interpreters, used sign language to express their personal experiences as they presented on the topic, 'My Biggest Challenge is ... '.

Lewis, who is hearing impaired and has a speech impediment, presented her own touching tale of the great challenge she encounters with rejection from the deaf community who do not trust her because she speaks, though haltingly. She noted that she is also treated as an outcast by hearing persons who consider her a misfit with her disabilities.

Seen as a hypocrite

"It is challenging to fit into both worlds as I am not accepted in any of the two. I try to bridge the gap between both worlds (the hearing and the deaf) but how can I do that effectively when I am seen in both worlds as a hypocrite?"

The competitors also spoke of the many difficulties they face doing simple things that others take for granted such as shopping, going to church, watching television and getting involved in sports and other extra-curricular activities.

Trishana Josephs, of the CCCD Mandeville branch, and Kemoy Campbell, also of Cassia Park, came second and third respectively.

For winning the competition, 19-year-old Shana-Ka received a scholarship from Optimist International valued at US$1,500 (about J$100,000), a J$20,000 cash award from National Commercial Bank, a J$10,000 investment package from Mayberry Investments, and a cellular phone courtesy of Digicel, loaded with text flex calling cards.

The second and third place winners also received cash prizes from Mayberry Investments Limited and cellular phones and text flex calling cards from Digicel. In addition, the third place winner, Kemoy Campbell, received an educational grant valued at $20,000 from Digicel.

© Copyright 1997-2007 Gleaner Company Ltd.