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 Current News

One Young Woman's Story of Success

​Ring Day & 8th Grade Graduation at St. Francis De Sales School for the Deaf – Brooklyn, NY

Kathleen Labeck, TVI

We at St. Francis de sales School for the Deaf and NYDBC are very pleased to congratulate Damarus Bernard for receiving her Class of 2013 ring at St Francis' Annual Ring Day Celebration on January 24, 2013 and for graduating from 8th grade on June 19, 2013!

 Young woman and teacher on stage
The Ring Day ceremony grants each graduate with their class ring, a recognized symbol of accomplishment uniquely designed with St. Francis embellishments. The ceremony allows the candidates to ask a special person in their life to present them with their class ring.  Candidates then share special memories from their time with staff and fellow students at St. Francis. After the ceremony there is a receiving line and light refreshments and cookies served to the graduating class, their family members and the entire school community at St. Francis.

Damarus, 14, is a bright young woman with combined hearing and vision loss (deaf-blindness) who accesses her world through two-handed tactile sign language and Braille. She has made great strides over the past four years, continually impressing the teachers and other staff through her curiosity – growing her sign language vocabulary, enhancing her Braille literacy and constantly expanding her overall conceptual development. Damarus fully participated in the ceremony and sat on stage along with her fellow graduating classmates. During the ceremony, tactile communication was facilitated by her classroom teacher, Ms. Nikiesha Kirkpatrick.

This day was the pinnacle of Damarus' tenure with us. It allowed the entire congregation an opportunity to see Damarus' talents and highlight her progress over the years. But, maybe more importantly, Damarus had the chance to get dressed up in a beautiful light pink dress and wear a matching pink flower in her hair! And, naturally, the cookies were not to be missed by this graduate!

 Young woman walking in cap and gown with assistant
Then came graduation day! Damarus, all donned in graduation gown and cap, crossed the stage with her peers to receive her diploma. She, along with her classroom assistant, recited to the audience members her reflections on her time and what she will miss at St. Francis. It was inspiring to see Damarus’ skills in reading her notes in Braille and then communicating to the congregation in sign language. A stirring time indeed!

The next phase in her educational development is high school. The family and team spoke at length about programs that would meet Damarus’ needs and challenge her to lift her to new heights. After much deliberation, school visits and paperwork, Damarus was accepted into the deaf-blind program at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, MA. What exciting news for Damarus!

The entire St. Francis team is very proud of Damarus’ accomplishments and will miss her tremendously as she moves and looks forward to the many achievements that lie ahead of her! Well done, Damarus and good luck!



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