WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - Stephanie Cintron, 18, was so thrilled to be graduating from the New York School for the Deaf Friday that she pumped her fist in the air before signing, Gallaudet, here I come to the crowd. She walked off the stage with her tassel dangling on the other side of her graduation cap, a diploma in hand, and bragging rights about attending the only deaf university in the world next fall.
I feel like I can take a snapshot of when I came in as a freshman and now here I am graduating, said Cintron, who lives in the Bronx. Im excited, but I dont know whats going to happen next or who Ill be. Its hard to let go. This is the third school Ive been to... I went through some bad times, but I just love it here. Ive gotten so much support.
Although Cintron has a few jitters about going to Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. next year, she plans to room with her friend and New York School for the Deaf valedictorian Isabella Albert .
Shes like my blood sister, said Cintron, who wants to study writing and acting. I think at first I would like to write something about deaf culture and then just anything.
Cintrons parents and brother joined about 60 others at the New York School for the Deaf auditorium Friday morning to cheer along the schools 13 graduates. Two of the graduates, Albert and class president Kaalob Moran earned regents diplomas in addition to diplomas from the York School for the Deaf, which is nicknamed Fanwood.
The ceremony included a performance by the Fanwood Traveling Troupe, a slideshow of the class of 2011, and speeches by Moran, Albert, and Howard Rosenblum, the CEO of the National Association of the Deaf.
Rosenblum told the students not to be limited by their deafness by sharing a story about when he met the nations only deaf attorney in 1979.
A light went off in my head and I was like, A deaf person can sue a hearing person? This is what I want to do, said Rosenblum, an attorney who specializes in disability laws. That was my dream...Today in year 2011, there are approximately 300 deaf attorneys across the United States. Maybe one of you will be next.
The ceremony pleased parents, including Glen Stretch, who said watching his son Glen Jr. Graduate was beautiful.
Its a beautiful, beautiful feeling and its kind of overwhelming, said Stretch, who lives in the Bronx. I think partially hes in shock and he doesnt know what future program will be for him yet.
Although Glen Jr. was happy to graduate and excited to visit Florida this summer, he didnt plan to stay away too long.
Im going to come back and visit, said Glen Jr., 20. I just love my teachers.
Do you have any graduation photos or memories to share? If you'd like to send a message to a recent White Plains graduate email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill me in on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
This article was written with help from Lorraine Gold-Appel, a New York School for the Deaf employee, who translated American Sign Language into English for the reporter.
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