Special Education

NYSSD Circle Newsletter

2009-2010: 2nd Issue | NYSSD Circle Newsletter PDF icon (2.53 MB)

Table of Contents


Superintendent's Message

As Spring approaches I sit back and wonder where the time goes. I find it hard to believe that in only four months we will be at graduation again. The school year has gone by quickly and I feel it is due to the many activities that students are doing, all the wonderful lessons that are taking place in the classroom and the fun atmosphere that the students of NYSSD have as their learning environment. Winter was not so bad this year and because of that the students were able to get out and about in the community and we had very few days where students were not in attendance. The January Regents went very well and we had many successes. Currently we are preparing for review classes for the June Regents. The crowning of the King and Queen was a popular even as always, and I find it very rewarding to bestow the crowns on those lucky individuals who were voted for by their fellow peers. The basketball season was an exciting one full of both wins and losses, but hard games fought by both sides. We look forward to the Softball season and the fresh air. Our Academic Bowl Team is busy preparing to go to competition this month and we will wish them well and good luck. We are also preparing for the 135th anniversary of this school, which will be a week long event the week of March 22nd. Students will be bringing home invitations and information regarding all the events we will have on hand to celebrate. Some of you may have heard the new change over that will take place for VESID and Special Education at the State level. The New York State School for the Deaf will be moving to the P-12 area of supervision, under the umbrella of Special Education and Rebecca Cort and Jackie Bumbalo. Services will not change but we will be working with new staff from the State Education Building and we will no longer be overseen by VESID. This will not affect the VESID services that our students are entitled to. I am sure that the next 4 months will go by too quickly and I will be seeing many of you at graduation and family day. Until then have a safe Spring!

Cariann Ray

Educational Review

Submitted by Daniel Roberts, Assistant Superintendent

I would like to commend the hard work and effort of our students at NYSSD. On Friday, March 5, 2010, NYSSD recognized several students that had earned Honor Roll or Merit Roll for the 1st and/or 2nd marking period. Honor Roll students who earn this distinction have a cumulative average of 88.5 or higher in all academic course work. Merit Roll students who earn this distinction have a cumulative average of 85 – 88.4 in all academic coursework. In addition to receiving awards, students were invited to a recognition luncheon for their achievements. The luncheon was a huge success and a wonderful way to give back to the students who continue to strive for excellence. “The roots of true achievement lie in the will to become the best that you can become.” ~Harold Taylor

These students are role models and should be recognized for their academic success. It is with great honor I present the following names with the accompanying award recognitions for the second marking period:

Honor Roll:
Sarah Davis
Joseph Gardner
Kristi Kaye
Miranda Matthews
Rhianna Schwabrow

Merit Roll:
Alexis Beckwith
Taiba Dawlat
Jamel Edwards
Austin Howard
Jeffrey Marshall
Amanda Miller
Kristin Miller
Ashley Nemier
Kyle Sova
Eh Wah

Audiology Corner

Submitted by Dr. Kimberly Sacco, Audiologist

Our consultant Lois Heymann came in January. She is always full of information to share with the team and our parents. The parent meeting was the biggest ever, and we as a team were thrilled with the turn out! Thanks to all those that attended and Lois! The team has grown. We have included a few more members to our team. Our team now consists of: Cathy Lee, Gail Ashmore, Joan Fargnoli, Kim Sacco, Andrea Rounds and Theresa Matt. Andrea and Theresa have brought great new ideas to our group. Our team works to improve the Little Listeners program as well as the transitioning process for those that are ready to go into a mainstream program if that is their parents’ wishes. Parents of a “Little Listener” can be looking for a monthly newsletter to keep them up to date on things new in the field of Cochlear Implants and hearing aids, as well as happenings in the school. Our Auditory/Oral program is growing. The “Little Listeners” program is bursting at the seams with students. We have started renovating another classroom in response to the number of students that we have entering into the program. We look forward to seeing the renovation complete. We always have students that may be in need of back up equipment if their hearing aids break down. If you have any hearing aids that are in working condition that are not being used, we would love to put them to good use. Please contact me at the school if you have any questions.

Special Valentines

Submitted by Kelly Szyper, Jennifer Roberts, Terry LaGasse and Cherie Day - Elementary Girls Dormitory

The Elementary Girls Dorm did many special activities in preparation of Valentines Day. The girls started out by making decorative hearts out of pipe cleaners and different materials to design the traditional bulletin board. They also created an original oversized heart made from different tissue papers. The dormitory was decorated with a touch of love. The elementary dorm also put their cooking skills to work. The students all lended a helping hand to bake Valentines cupcakes in the shape of hearts. They also made half moon cookies with coordinating Valentine colors to keep in the spirit of the special day. All the hard work was well worth it to have a wonderful Valentines Party. We were joined by some of our hearing friends that the children asked to invite. The gang ate, played games, had a Heart Scavenger Hunt, and also had a special group dancing time. The party was an extraordinary success. Everyone enjoyed themselves, their hearts were filled with joy and Valentine love.

Taiba Dawlat Shares Her Story with Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian and Author of Three Cups of Tea

Submitted by Kathy Young

On March 3, 2010, Miss Taiba Dawlat, a 19-year-old student from Utica, had a dream come true when she met author and humanitarian Greg Mortenson in Auburn, New York. Taiba started reading Mr. Mortenson's book, Three Cups of Tea, last fall with the help of volunteer reading teacher, Mrs. Jean Gates. Taiba was born in Afghanistan and lived in Pakistan before relocating to Utica with her mother and brother in 2002. She lost her father and her hearing from the violence in her home country, and she was not allowed to attend school there. Instead she started working at age seven and spent long days making rugs. Since coming to NYSSD in 2003 she has made great progress with her English and sign language skills. Taiba became fascinated with the subject of Greg Mortenson's book where he talks about building schools in Afghanistan and supports education for all students and especially girls. When Mrs. Gates found out Greg Mortenson would be speaking in Auburn, she contacted the sponsors and shared Taiba's story. Taiba, Mrs. Gates, and Counselor Kathy Young were welcomed as special guests to this event on March 3. Mr. Mortenson personally welcomed Taiba during his visit and he encouraged all students to get involved with his "Pennies for Peace" program. Taiba plans to share information about Greg Mortenson, his books, and his work in Afghanistan and Pakistan during future Social Skills assemblies at NYSSD. Her story can be read from Scott Rap's column in Sunday's Syracuse Post Standard newspaper.

Article By Scott Rapp / The Post-Standard

March 01, 2010, 12:32PM
Girl from Afghanistan invited to meet ‘Three Cups of Tea’ author before his Auburn talk Exit Site
Taiba Dawlat's story and her chance to meet humanitarian and author of Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson.

Syracuse Stage Script Writing Competition

Submitted by Vicky Stokton Allen

Syracuse Stage is again sponsoring its annual Playwright's Competition and NYSSD students have again been busy writing scripts of the event. Seven (7) students accepted the challenge of producing a ten-page script complete with characters designations, stage directions, and dialogue, all following the Kennedy Center National Script Writing format rules and standards. Scripts had to be submitted prior to February break. Now we are awaiting word as to the status of the student's entries. All the best to this year's student script writers:

Script Writers

Joshua Amberg
Irick Carter
Sarah Davis
Jamel Maurice Edwards
Kristi Kaye
Jeffrey Marshall
Amanda Miller

Mrs. Matt's Reading Class

Submitted by Theresa Matt

Readers in Mrs. Matt's class read and followed multi-step directions independently to create a Valentine surprise! If they followed directions correctly, they created beautiful Valentine gift boxes. Each was unique with its own surprise inside to be shared with that special friend or family member. Great job!

Boys Basketball

Submitted by Dennis Ryan

The 2009-10 NYSSD Boys Basketball team enjoyed a banner season. The boys finished with a 12-2 record. The NYSSD team won the overall league crown with a 9-1 regular season record. The boys defeated River Valley in the NCAC playoffs before losing to New Life in the championship game; 66-64. The boys also won both the foul shooting and team 21 contests. It was a great year for the boys and the best record for the team in many years. Irick Carter led NYSSD with an 18 point scoring average. He also led the team in rebounding and was named to the NCAC league All-Star team. Joseph Gardner was also a starter and contributed to the team with his hard work and rebounding. Jeff Marshall came off the bench and added to the depth of the team with his inspired play. Cole Hyde showed dramatic improvement on his skills and led the undefeated J.V. team with a 15 point per game scoring average. George Wright also had a good season and averaged 6 rebounds a game on the J.V. team. Geovany Lainez led the J.V. team with 2 steals per game. It was a very rewarding season for the boys basketball teams at NYSSD. Thanks to all who helped make it possible.

North Country Athletic Conference Boys and Girls Tournament Results - March 2010

Boys Tournament:

Semi-Final Games:

River Valley 40

Mohawk Valley 51
New Life 60

Championship Game:

New Life 64

Team 21: NYSSD
Foul Shooting Champion: NYSSD

Regular Season All Stars:

Irick Carter-NYSSD-1st Team
Isaiah Olivo-NYSSD-1st Team
Shane Medley-NYSSD-Honorable Mention

Regular NCAC Place Finish: 1st Place

Girls Tournament:

Semi-Final Games:

Holy Cross 45

Mohawk Valley 50
New Life 23

Championship Game:

Holy Cross 42
Mohawk Valley 48

Team 21 Champion: Mohawk Valley
Foul Shooting Champion: Mohawk Valley

Regular Season All-Stars:

Kaitlyn Come-NYSSD-1st Team
Amanda Miller-NYSSD-Honorable Mention
Jessica Bergerson-NYSSD-Honorable Mention

Regular NCAC Place Finish: 3rd Place

New York State School for the Deaf 2009-2010 Girls Basketball

Submitted by Coach Gloria Broadbent

The Girl's Varsity team finished their basketball season winning 2 league games. The Girls played in the North Country Athletic Conference. The NCAC league consists of the following teams: Faith Fellowship Christian School, Mohawk Valley Christian Academy, New Life Christian School, Holy Cross and New York State School for the Deaf. The team was seeded 3rd for the NCAC tournament. The girls were to play the second seed team in the tournament which was Holy Cross. The team lost in the last few seconds of the game after a tremendous comeback. The girls lost a tough game to Holy Cross 45-43.

This year's team had many returning players and they were Rhianna Schwabrow, Amanda Miller, Jessica Bergerson, Erica Bergerson, Kheemara McKnight, Ashley Nemier, and Shanice White. The team had several new players and they were Kaitlin Come, Kristi Kaye, Rachel Higgins, Sarah Davis, Kristin Miller, and Fayra Santiago. The co-captains for this year were Amanda Miller and Rhianna Schwabrow.

The Girls team went to West Virginia to play in the ESDAA tournament. They placed 6th in the tournament. The girls had a good time playing basketball and meeting girls from other deaf schools.

The team worked hard this year. The Girls team would like to thank the school, their parents and their fans (especially the boys team) for their continued support. See you at the games next year!

Book Dioramas

Submitted by Nancy Quance

The students in Nancy Quance's class are proud to display the book dioramas they made with their parents. The children were given the two week assignment to do at home. They each chose a storybook to read then depicted the story using materials/figurines placed inside a decorated shoe box.

Coach's Corner

Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner and Healthier

I have found from my own experience that strength or resistance training is a key part of any fitness program. With a regular strength training program you can: (1) reduce your body fat, (2) increase your lean muscle mass, and (3) burn calories more efficiently.

Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age, but strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass at any age. I have found that 3 times a week for 45 minutes at a time can be more than enough time for a good program. It really is not that time consuming. If you don't do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose-you will increase the percent of fat in your body. Strength training also: develops strong bones, boosts your stamina, helps you sleep better, controls your weight, reduces risk of injury, and improves your self confidence. I have found that free weights give you the best results-but strength training is very important to any fitness program. Try it-you will see for yourself what this program will do for you.

Students Present At T.H.E. Symposium Held At Utica College

Submitted by Harry Baran

On January 13, 2010, four students from the New York State School for the Deaf (NYSSD) presented at the Technology Heightens Education (THE) Symposium held at Utica College. Senior, Joseph Gardner demonstrated the art of portrait enhancement and photographic restoration learned in Mr. Baran's Advanced Graphics Arts class using Adobe PhotoShop CS4. Freshman Fayra Santiago, Ashley Nemier, and Sarah Davis demonstrated how they have utilized "Lego Robotics" to learn basic robotics programming concepts taught in Mr. Baran and Mrs. Vicky Stockton Allen's after school program, "Lego Robotics Club". The four students had a wonderful time presenting to area students and teachers as well as learning how technology is used in other school districts.

The T.H.E. Symposium is hosted by the Mohawk Regional Information Center each year and is an opportunity for students in area school districts to celebrate and share the ways they use technology as a tool for enhancing learning. This was the first time NYSSD has participated in this event but will surely not be the last.

Student Teacher Interns At NYSSD

Submitted by Erika Noll

Hello, my name is Erika Noll and I am a graduate student in the Canisius College Deaf Education program. I have a Bachelor of Science in Childhood/Special Education from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY and am a certified elementary and special education teacher.

Over the past 6 weeks I have been given the opportunity to student teach in Heather Northey's 4th grade classroom at NYSSD. The minute I walked through the doors I was greeted with smiles and welcomed with open arms. Being at NYSSD has taught me more than I could ever imagine learning in my college classes. I have seen the benefit of manipulatives and visuals in the classroom, individualized instruction, and the unique needs of students who are deaf. Nothing beats hands on learning! I am grateful to see first hand how what I am learning in the college classroom is being implemented in the classroom.

I know that my experience here at NYSSD has given me the tools I need to be a successful teacher of the deaf! Thank you!

Martin Luther King Presentation

Submitted by Jean Jackson

Nancy Quance's and Jean Jackson's classes honored the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. with an acrostic poem, 2 skits about Ruby Ridges and Rosa Parks, and a brief description of Martin Luther King's way of dealing with adversity. Vicky Stockton-Allen and Gail Brett added a special touch to the presentation by involving the audience in signing/signing "Let There Be Peach on Earth" with Vicky playing the keyboard. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful music! The presentation took place in the middle school dining room, and we had a terrific turnout!

Nancy Quance's class consists of Cody Sharpsteen, Harland Oldick, Nathaniel Hoose and Asia Bohlen. Jean Jackson's class consists of Arif Cajic, Denice Massol, Darlene Martin and Ella Kovaleva. The children worked hard at the practices and did a wonderful job on the day of the presentation!

At the end of the presentation we sang/signed "Happy Birthday" in remembrance of Martin Luther King, and as cake and punch were served we enjoyed the song "We Shall Overcome" sung by our wonderful singers Vicky and Gail.

Help For Haiti

Submitted by Gail Brett

The Social Skills/Character Education program encourages students to look beyond themselves and to help others, so when Haiti had their devastating earthquake NYSSD students and staff acted quickly to aid the people of Haiti. Under the direction of the Social Skills/Character Education program NYSSD raised money to help. We sent letters home to families and to staff asking for monetary donations. Teachers and residential staff at NYSSD encouraged students to donate their spare change, even if it meant giving up an after-school snack or soft drink. We had donations from many families, staff, and their friends during the three weeks that we collected.

We are very proud to say that we collected a total of $2376.53. This donation was made to the American Red Cross Rome Chapter on February 12, 2010.

New York State National Cheerleading Championships

Submitted by Coach: Michelle Simmons and Asst. Coach: Cherie Day

Our Cheerleaders had the opportunity again this year to participate in the New York State National Cheerleading Championships. Keith Grant, Cole Hyde, Sarah Davis, Kristin Miller and Miranda Matthews stayed in the dorms here Friday night. We had a joint practice with the North Star All Stars team from Camden where the two teams were able to socialize together. They taught our team some new stunts and we taught them some signs. Saturday morning our team headed out to the Utica Auditorium for the competition. We started the morning by signing the National Anthem. Our team ended up bringing home the second place trophy for their division and improved on their score from last year by over 30 points. Congratulations, we are very proud of you!

Pre-Superbowl Party

Submitted by Jessica Poczatek

To celebrate the spirit and excitement of the culmination of the football season, the Elementary/Junior High Boys Dormitory hosted a "Pre-Superbowl" Party on Thursday, February 4th. The students assisted staff in preparing various foods associated with the Superbowl; including chili, hamburgers, hotdogs, and homemade pizzas. We cooked short-order style. One student went around and took orders, while the staff filled the orders as food was ready. Another one of our students who participates in Yearbook took some wonderful pictures of the occasion. Afterwards, the students showed their appreciation of the special dinner by cleaning up the kitchen. They did such a great job that it looked like we hadn't even cooked in it that night! Overall, we had a fun experience and everyone pitched in to make it an enjoyable night.

Girl Scouts

Submitted by Sue Thomas

It's been an active year so far for the Girl Scouts and Brownies. The girls decided they want to earn a Cooking Badge. We spent a couple of our meetings in the Dorm cooking. For Halloween, the girls made "Halloweenies." We took hot dogs and wrapped them in crescent roll dough to look like mummies. In February, we made individual pizzas. Each girl created her own special pizza. The favorite topping (besides cheese) was pepperoni! The NYSSD girls taught the hearing girls some of the signs for the pizza and toppings. The girls enjoyed their pizza so much that they voted to make them at our next meeting. Special thanks to our helpers Andrea Rounds, Kelly Szyper, Terry LaGasse, Nikki Baird and Angel Worley!

The second badge we are working towards is for Pet Care. Each of the girls drew pictures of the pets they have at home, the types of food their pet eats and the toys they play with. Those without pets, drew the pet they would like to have. At our upcoming meetings we will be making pet toys to donate to the local Humane Society and having a visit from "Out of the Cage Pet Mobile." This company will bring in about six different animals for the girls to interact with and learn about their care.

We are all in the middle of our annual cookie sales. Last year we sold 969 boxes! Can we sell 1,000 this year? Our Gifts of Caring donations will go to the Rome Rescue Mission.

Students At NYSSD Meet A Soldier From The Revolutionary War

Submitted by Harry Baran

On March 12, 2010, students from Mr. Baran's 7th grade social studies class and from Mrs. Stockton Allen's music class had the chance to meet a soldier from the American Revolution who fought at Fort Stanwix. Dressed in colonial attire and carrying an authentic drum from that period, he described life as a soldier and drummer in the Continental Army. He spoke of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, (a fight between the Americans and the British over the control of Fort Stanwix that lasted nearly three weeks) and the Battle of Oriskany near Rome, New York, (where many Americans were ambushed and killed by the British while trying to make their way to aid soldiers at Fort Stanwix who were under siege).

Students learned the significance that Fort Stanwix played in the American Revolutionary War and the importance of drummers who set the war's tempo. Drummers in the American Revolution were used to summon officers, soldiers, and even entire regiments. They were used to wake everyone living in and outside the fort and alert them when the British were near or when they attacked. During battles, the sound of the drums actually communicated between different units engaged. A drum beat could order a withdrawal or an attack, it could speed the men up, or slow them down.

Students found this very exciting and asked great questions, which the soldier answered happily. Each student even had an opportunity to play a drum call from his drum, which made this event more enriching. I would like to thank Superintendent Carriann Ray, Assistant Superintendent Dan Roberts, Fort Stanwix, and Vicky Stockton for helping make this event possible.

Students' Interviews

Submitted by Harry Baran

Students in Mr. Baran's Fundamentals of a Mac class have been learning to use the program Pages. Pages is a word processing and page layout program used to make posters, documents, brochures, cards, resumes, newsletters, and more. It is even used to make this newsletter, "The Circle". After learning how to create various page formats in Pages, students were assigned to interview a staff member, write an article, and take photos associated with his/her story. They then were to use Pages and create a page for publication. These are their stories and layouts they created.

Amazing Answers

Submitted by Austin Howard

Q: Do you like playing the piano?

A: Vicky-I love playing piano and I like to play it in my church and I like to perform songs on it. I really enjoy and love it.

Q: Why is music your favorite?

A: Vicky-Music is a part of me and inside me. I can't live without playing music. It holds everyone together. Here's a short story (On a Friday evening I had a party to go to and thought to myself, I know a man that shows up every time at 8:00 P.M. I called him and I told him it's ok to start the party without me. When I arrived at home, opened up the door and I heard live music. I thought to myself it was not from a cd or from the radio. I felt very warm inside and welcome in my own home).

Q: Will you ever retire from NYSSD?

A: Vicky-I think that I will never retire from NYSSD. I can't imagine myself leaving. I might have to get a bed and sleep under the piano.

Q: What are your favorite instruments?

A: Vicky-I love all sorts of instruments. I love playing the trumpet from the brass family. I also like the piano in here at NYSSD and at my own church.

Q: When was CAPA established?

A: Vicky-In 1975 in the Music Program.

Q: Who started CAPA here at NYSSD?

A: Vicky-In 1978 it was taught in a classroom by Corral and Clive Robbins.

Q: How did you start to learn about it?

A: I went to graduate and Post graduate school to learn about it.

Q: How many years have you directed CAPA?

A: Its been called many different names. It has been named YITT and CAPA and I have directed it for over 30 years.

Q: What was one of the funniest moments you can remember from your CAPA years?

A: I still remember a few funny parts that happened during the play. That they used flash pots for bombs.

Interview With The New History Teacher

Submitted by Jamel Edwards

For my computer technology class, I had to interview a staff person and use a program called Pages to make a page for the school newsletter. I interviewed the new history teacher named Miss Tooke. I then put the questions, answers, and a picture together using the skills I learned in class. I hope you will enjoy my interview.

Q: When did you decide to start to working at NYSSD?

A: I decided to start teaching at NYSSD over the summer. I was teaching junior high social studies at Rome Catholic last year, but I saw this opening. I thought it would be a great challenge! :) I also wanted to teach high school!

Q: What did you learn about yourself?

A: I have learned a lot about myself. I've learned to be more patient and to use my time wisely. I tend to be a procrastinator, but I'm always on my toes here!

Q: Is it easy to learn sign language?

A: Some of the signs have been easy, others have not. There is a lot of memorization to it! I haven't studied a language since high school Spanish, so getting back into learning a language has been tricky at times.

Q: Have you learned many new signs from NYSSD?

A: I have learned many new signs at NYSSD. I'm still focusing on the signs specifically for teaching my subject matter, since it is all vocabulary. But just being in class and watching the students talk, I have picked up a lot of signs.

Q: Who taught you sign language?

A: I have had many great people throughout the course of the year teach me signs. I have two great assistants and an interpreter who help me a lot. I also took a night class at BOCES last fall and learned basic everyday signs. All the staff and teachers have been great in helping me as well.

Q: Do you like NYSSD?

A: I do like NYSSD. I like the family feel that the school radiates. My entire educational background has been in small schools. I went to a small high school and college. When I became a teacher, I was fortunate enough to teach in small schools as well. I really enjoy what a small atmosphere brings to the students, staff, and community.

Q: Do you have some deaf family?

A: I do have a deaf family member. My cousin, Fred Vanderworken, is a graduate of NYSSD. He graduated from here in the early 1970s. I don't know the exact date. I wasn't born yet. He's a pretty cool guy! Growing up I didn't see him as any different from any of my other family members! He has always enjoyed being around the family and we all think the world of him! As a kid he would teach me some sign language, so I did know some sign when I started here. When I told him that I was going to be teaching here, he was very excited!

Q: Do you like being a history teacher?

A: I LOVE TEACHING HISTORY! History was my best subject in school! I got straight A's every year! I love all my history teachers in high school as well. I guess I was a geek too, because instead of going home after sports practice and play video games, I would watch the History Channel with my dad. I decided to major in history in college and succeeded beyond my expectations! I am working on a second master's degree in history. My plan is to one day earn a PhD in history as well.

Q: Why did you want to teach history to deaf students at NYSSD?

A: I like a challenge. I thought it would be a great opportunity and a fun one at that. I like teaching and I love history, so I'm doing what I went to college for! I enjoy working with all types of people.

Q: Have you made new friends at NYSSD?

A: I have made some wonderful, wonderful friends at the school! They are really great people who have influenced my life in so many ways! :)

A Photographer's Perspective

Submitted by Kristi Kaye

Being interested in photography myself, I interviewed Colleen Price who is a professional photographer with 20 years of experience. She has developed her style into something she's very passionate about; photojournalism. Price currently works for SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is deeply satisfied with it. She is also employed at NYSSD, where she took a position as the yearbook advisor.

Q: How did you first get involved with photography?

A: My family is quite involved in photography as a hobby. I was given my first camera as a birthday gift at the age of 10. The influence around me was huge.

Q: What are your favorite subjects to shoot?

A: People and places. More specifically people in their environment, it adds to the story.

Q: Is there one element that you think is extremely important for every photograph?

A: Every photograph should convey emotion or feeling for impact.

Q: What is your favorite concept to portray in your photograph?

A: My favorite concept is to tell a story with every photograph. Give it meaning. The viewer should feel as if they know something they didn't know before after viewing an image.

Q: What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a picture?

A: While taking a photojournalism class in college, I was given an assignment to do a unique 6-8 page magazine article requiring research. My selection came down to the K-9 security team at Munson, Williams and Proctor Art Institute in Utica, NY. Over the course of the semester I spent 10-15 hours per week with a specific handler and his dog in order to get acquainted and complete my research. I attended training with the entire team under the guidance of Mr. Bob Diperna from the Utica Police Department. During the end of my time with the team and under the strict supervision of Mr. Diperna, I wore a bite arm while a handler gave a command to one of the dogs to attack me. I had no idea they would suggest me doing that and I'm glad I didn't know. The worst part wasn't when they let go of the dog, but the minute or two before. It seemed like a lifetime. I agreed because first of all I knew they would keep me safe and secondly I felt that my story would be much better.

Q: What kind of cameras do you use?

A: I am mostly digital at this point and shoot with a Nikon D100. On occasion I pull out my medium format system, a Mamiya 645 Pro (film).

Q: Describe your favorite picture that you took yourself.

A: I have several favorite photographs I have taken, however I am most pleased with my growth as a photojournalist. One photo that comes to mind is a black and white of a bride and her nephew. The close up of young boy whispering into her ear shows the depth of their relationship. At the same time you can see he is looking to her for reassurance as to just how does he fit into her new life, having to share her now.

Q: If you could have a photo shoot with anyone, past or present, who would it be?

A: For sure it would be the first family (Obamas). I believe their story is unique and of a very special quality.

Q: Who is your greatest inspiration?

A: Henri Cartier Bresson who was best known for capturing "the decisive moment". He also tried to utilize the environment of each photo to set the stage for the story of the photo. I also admire the work of Gorden Parks.

Q: What has photography taught you?

A: First of all to be sensitive to your subjects. I find more people don't care to be photographed than do, however your attitude in dealing with all types of subjects, camera shy or not can yield great results. You must put them at ease so their personality will show through. Secondly, to pay special attention to the details. Things like background distractions lead the viewers eye from the point of interest as opposed to the perfect background which can add impact to the story you are trying to tell.

Q: What kind of advice would you give to young, aspiring photographers?

A: Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Anything and everything you can imagine. Try all types of photography. With digital photography there is a possibility to shoot endlessly. You should make it a goal to shoot everyday and archive by date. You will be amazed at how you progress over time. It is also important to look at good photography from both professionals and other students. Enter photo contests as often as possible.

Q: What do you think it's like to be deaf?

A: I think of being deaf like speaking another language.

Q: Do you find there to be a difference between deaf and hearing models?

A: The more time I spend photographing deaf models, the less and less I see any difference at all when working with deaf models.

An Artist's Life

Submitted by Jeffrey Marshall

Q: How did you become an art teacher?

A: I went to college to become an art teacher.

Q: What college did you go to?

A: I earned a degree of Art Education Bachelor in Buffalo State College.

Q: How many years did it take you to earn that degree?

A: I have more than four years of college and I was a student-teacher for two schools in Buffalo, NY. One is elementary school and one is high school. Also, New York requires all people who want to teach art in class to have a master's degree. I had earned that in the next couple of years in college.

Q: Who is your favorite artist?

A: My favorite artist is Chuck Close.

Q: What is he famous for?

A: He painted a huge portrait of peoples faces that look like reality, just like you would take a picture with a camera.

Q: If you want to teach more than arts, what would that be and why?

A: I wouldn't want to teach anything different than arts, but arts is my favorite.

Q: How long have you been working here?

A: I started working here in 2001 and today in 2010, so about nine years I have been working here.

Q: How many art works have you done in your lifetime?

A: I have done most of my examples in art class, a few in college, but I don't think I have ever done art work in my free time.

Q: What are some elective classes you teach?

A: I teach two different types of art; Introduction to Art and Studio Art.

Q: What class do you recommend seniors take with you?

A: Studio Art is the class I recommend seniors take with me.

Creative and Performing Arts *CAPA!* 2009-2010

Submitted by Vicky Stockton Allen

This year's community-based drama program, "CAPA!", brought together twenty-five deaf, hearing, and hard-of-hearing students from local area school districts, home school programs, and our own NYSSD. Students worked together after school and on one weekend to develop their scripts, build sets, make costumes, and memorize their lines. The NYSSD technology classes, under the direction of Mr. Harry Baran, developed beautiful programs featuring a photo of each student actor.

The theme of this year's play, WEAVE ME A STORY, was the understanding and acceptance of what makes each of us unique. Through song, dance, storytelling, and drama, our actors did a wonderful job in sharing that theme with audiences from area schools and the general community during their two performances on Thursday, February 3rd, 2010.

We are especially thankful to this year's production sponsors: Rome's Capitol Theatre and Mohawk Valley Community College. We also say thank-you to all those family members who were able to travel to Rome to enjoy their children in this special production.

BRAVO to all our NYSSD actors:

Abigail Anzalone
Asia Bohlen
Jamel Edwards
Mathew Heinlein
Katie Hence
Alen Kendic
Darlene Martin
Dencie Massol
Leora Massaroni
David Molina
Sinclair Newman
Harland Oldick
Anastasia Steele

Interview With New High School Students

Submitted by Melinda Magliocca

Interview with Lucy Hamilton

Hi, what is your name and how old are you?
Lucy Hamilton, I am 15 yrs. old

Where do you live?
Norwich, New York.

What is the name of the school you came from?
Norwich High School.

How long is your bus ride to NYSSD?
One hour.

What do you like most about NYSSD?
I like the dorm activities: Dodge ball and swimming.

What do you like least about NYSSD?
I am having a hard time with all the academic classes, but I want to try harder.

What can you tell us about living in the dorm?
I like having my own bedroom.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
I like to draw cartoon pictures. For example, Spyro and Knuckle Joe.

What kind of activities do you do with your family on the weekend?
I like talking with Mom and watching TV in my bedroom. We also go shopping and visit Grandma.

Interview with Kristi Kaye

What is your name and age?
Kristi Kaye, I'm 15 years old.

Where do you live?
I live in Poughquag, New York.

What was the name of your school before NYSSD?
Arlington High School.

What do you like most about NYSSD?
I like the friendships I've made here and living in the dorm.

What do you like least about NYSSD?
The drama! The school is so small that we are like family, we bicker easily. Small things tend to get magnified, and made bigger.

What is the biggest difference with this school and the school you came from?
The biggest difference between schools is the size. At Arlington high school there were 4000 students. At NYSSD, there are 32 high school students. I've also become more outgoing then usual since coming to NYSSD.

What are your favorite subjects in school and why?
My favorite subjects are English because I like to write and Art because it's a way to express myself.

What can you tell us about living in the dorm?
I really enjoy the independence and being around the other dorm students. This is only my second experience being with a group of deaf teenagers. My first experience was at a deaf camp, Camp Isola Bella.

What dorm activities have you been involved with?
I enjoy swimming in the pool here and being on the girls' basketball team. I also like movie night - Thursday.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
I like photography, writing, drawing and painting.

What kind of activities do you do with your family on the weekend?
Every weekend is different. Sometimes we go out to a restaurant but mostly we stay home to relax and catch up with the past weeks events.

How long is your bus ride to and from home? Do other students ride the bus with you?
The bus ride takes 4 hours but my Mom can get here in 3 hours.
Austin Howard is also on the same bus.

Do you have a roommate in the dorm?
I used to when I first arrived, but now I have a single room, which I like better.

College Success at NTID

Jeremy Lloyd (Class of 2009) has completed his second quarter of classes at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT. His grade point average has put him on the Dean's List for the second time during his freshman year! Jeremy is taking business classes at NTID.

After classes, Jeremy has become involved in the Performing Arts program at NTID. In February he gave an outstanding performance as a courtesan in "Sleeping Beauty," a dance adaptation of the classic tale, directed and choreographed by Thomas Warfield. Jeremy has adjusted very well to college life and works hard at everything he does. He likes to keep in touch with staff and students at NYSSD. We love to hear from him!

2010 Olympics

Submitted by Denise Arena

NYSSD's high school boys became very involved in this years winter Olympics, racing to the finish line to complete some of the many projects. In January, staff began discussions about Olympic traditions and had some kids make two life size relay torches. Next, a handcrafted map of Canada was placed in the hallway which engaged the students to inquire about our northern neighbor. With this map, the Olympic torch relay route was traced throughout Canada's ten provinces and three territories. The boys were then able to track the torch bearers by using a smaller torch thus changing its location on the map as runners came closer to the final destination of Vancouver.

In February, "With Glowing Hearts" (the Olympic motto), everyone worked on different aspects of our own Olympic themed bulletin board. The colorful display included painting a background and mountains, cutting, laminating and assembling the Olympic rings; constructing large versions of Miga, Quatchi and Sumi (the Olympic mascots); playing a game to find all fifteen Olympic sports played, meticulously piecing mini 3D Olympic paper mascots, creating a gold, silver, and bronze medal to hang; and ending with a captioned Comic Life strip of our own Olympic 2010 Boy's Team. These past two months raised many questions, lead to reading and engaged the boys in creatively and interaction.

Mr. Gardner Goes to Washington!

Submitted by Kathy Young, Counselor

In January, Joseph Gardner, a senior from Port Jervis, NY, was accepted at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Joseph and his parents are very excited about his plans to study Education and become a Social Studies teacher in the future. Joseph has been working hard to achieve an Advanced Regents Diploma in June. He was part of the Academic Bowl Team in 2009 that made it to the championship tournament at Gallaudet last spring. We all wish Joseph well as he begins college life in the fall. Maybe someday he'll return to teach at NYSSD!

"Since this article was originally written two more seniors have been accepted to college. Rhianna Schwabrow will attend the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at RIT in the fall, and Keith Grant will join Joseph Gardner at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Congratulations to all!"

The New York State School for the Deaf
401 Turin Street Rome, NY 13440
315-337-8400 (V) 315-337-8489 (TTY)
nyssd@nysed.gov (email)

Last Updated: July 1, 2010