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San Marcos Student Wins Grant to Raise Deaf Awareness

At last month’s meeting, the Tri-County GATE Council awarded grants to students, parents and teachers. San Marcos High School freshman Renee Handley was awarded $100 for her grant proposal.

Handley proposes to help raise awareness and understanding of the deaf community’s struggle by bringing members of the Santa Barbara City College American Sign Language (ASL) Club to interact with San Marcos students and introduce them to ASL as a distinct language.

“My sister and I were able to bring members of the Santa Barbara City College ASL Club to our elementary school to raise awareness of the deaf community’s struggle as part of our Girl Scout troop’s celebration of the life of Juliette Low, founder of the worldwide Girls Scout organization,” Handley said. “She became deaf in her mid-20s from an ear infection.

“My goal is to promote understanding of the deaf community’s struggles as well as embrace their unique culture and identity which differ from those of the hearing community. In addition, I hope this event will teach us not to place our own judgment on the deaf community.”

— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

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