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!
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!
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
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