Yee-Haw! It’s good to be back! Today I want to talk about my trip to Dallas, Texas from last week. April 21st- 22nd. Yes, a very short trip but it was fort worth it. *Ahem* I mean, so worth it.
It all started in few months ago when I got an email from this nice lady, Susan Giles from Deaf Action Center, Dallas – asking me if I would be interested in giving a presentation to deaf teenager girls. I was honored and said yes! Thanks to California School for the Deaf for supporting me to go on this trip. (Even I think my students were not too happy about me being absent for two days.)
As soon as I land my foot on the state of Texas for the first time, I was welcomed by this awesome lady, Heather Bise. She was so cool and friendly. She showed me around before we met Susan and other staff from DAC at this restaurant, Tex Mex for dinner. I enjoyed meeting all of them. They are a fun group!
Next morning, Heather picked me up from the hotel and took me to Starbucks. (Yes! I told you, she’s so cool!) Then we arrived at DAC’s Deaf Teen Leadership Summit for Deaf Girls, at Plano, Texas, over 200 deaf teenager girls came. I would say from about 15 different mainstreamed school around Dallas. “Ride Your Wave!” was the event’s theme. I loved it. There were some booths going on there and we had a lunch buffet. Then it was time for my presentation, which started after lunch.
I started my “Riding My Ride” keynote presentation with a picture of my family. I asked girls if they could guess which was deaf and which was hearing.
“All hearing, except you!”
“Hearing family and you and your brother are deaf?”
one said, “I’m thinking that… all of your family are … deaf?”
Most of them were surprised when I said my family is deaf. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if we do not hear like most of people. Then I talked about two different languages: ASL and English (L1 & L2) and why we shouldn’t “measure” on how smart we are when we try to work with our “second” language like reading and writing English. I also explained some turning points in my life as a deaf person. Going to NTID/RIT and using an interpreter for the first time in a large sized class with hearing people was one of them. I told the girls about the people I work with at California School for the Deaf in Fremont because my students and staff taught me so many things about being deaf. Here, I learned that we have to fight what is important for us – our people, our language, our culture, our education and our community. We cannot give up, period. If my students are confident and have goals – the girls should have them too.
At the ending, the girls had the chance to ask me questions. After that I was told to sit by the booth to sign the girls’ tee shirts but you know me, I couldn’t just sign. I had to draw. Yes, I drew over 200 small cute pictures on each tee shirt for those lovely deaf teenage girls. Lucky, my right hand didn’t fall out from my arm. All the girls I met — are so sweet and lovely!
What I learned from this trip was that it’s important to go out and meet deaf people, sharing information and connect with them. Deaf people from different states and they come from different backgrounds — they’re still my family.
Deaf Action Center, Dallas – thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to be your special guest for your annual Teen Leadership Summit for Deaf Girls. This is something that I will never forget.
“Do not give up, find ways. That’s what winners do.”
- Z from Surf’s Up! movie
*Pictures coming up soon!
Here’s an article from Plano Star Newspaper…. read more >