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June 16, 2010

Prof: Good attitude will trump hardship

From: Wilkes Barre Times-Leader - Jacqueline Lukas - ‎Jun 16, 2010‎

Scranton School for Deaf commencement

JACQUELINE LUKAS Times Leader Intern

SCRANTON – Like other area high school graduates, the young men and women from the Scranton School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are moving on.

Ten students of the Class of 2010 were honored in graduation ceremonies Wednesday night.

Donald Rhoten, superintendent for the Scranton school and the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, welcomed the graduates and their supporters.

“This is one of the best groups I have ever worked with,” he said.

He then introduced speaker Dr. Nathie Marbury, a professor at Austin Community College in Central Texas. Marbury went to a deaf school and then onto college.

Marbury talked to graduates about her feelings when she was a graduate.

“Cry all you want,” signed Marbury. “There’s no law against it.”

She told the graduates a story about never giving up. An ant couldn’t lift a piece of bread, but when another insect challenged the ant, he picked it up, just like that.

Then she asked the graduates what the story was about.

“Never giving up,” one graduate signed.

“If you have a bad attitude, change it,” another signed.

“Hard work can get you through anything,” signed another.

After Marbury’s speech, four awards were presented to three graduates. The first was presented to Radoslava Slavova from the North Scranton Rotary Club for a $1,000 scholarship. The award for academic excellence went to Aharon Riolo. The citizenship award went to Byron Evans and the award for leadership went to Slavova.

Both the salutatorian, Slavova, and the valedictorian, Riolo, spoke about their time at the school.

Slavova was born in Bulgaria and moved with her family to the United States when she was 12 years old with a kindergarten reading level. She went on to be prom queen, homecoming queen, salutatorian, Miss Teen Deaf Pennsylvania 2010, student government member and science fair winner.

“When you face trials in life, don’t ever give up,” quoted Slavova from one of her teachers. “Make your way through.”

Riolo, an avid NASCAR fan, applied real life to his NASCAR-themed speech. He told the group about teamwork and how important it is in real life and in the auto-racing world of NASCAR.

“You know, in racing, you race in laps. If the car isn’t handling well, you have a crew, kind of like your family,” Riolo signed. “Then your ‘crew’ is trying to figure out what’s wrong. You are working as a team, you rely on them. You trust them.”

After listening to the speeches, diplomas were awarded to each graduate and each signed something to the audience.

“I’m going to miss everybody here,” signed Demetrius Curtis. “My parents, my friends: I love you all.”

© 2010 The Times Leader.