Deaf Reality TV Star Gives Commencement Address at NYSD

Congratulations to New York School for the Deaf’s graduating class of 2014!  This special group of seniors leave with us a great deal of love, laughter and memories!

On Friday, June 27th, 2014, seniors arrived on campus for the last time as Fanwood students.  As they lined up in their blue and white gowns, there thoughts were on their fond memories as well as the excitement that awaits them.

Following the signing of the Pledge of Allegiance, the graduates, their families and NYSD staff members were welcomed by the Executive Director, Dr. Janet Dickinson.  The Chairman and President of the Board of Trustees, Eric M. Wagner and Alexis A. Kashar also made remarks.

This year, Salutatorian and Valedictorian, Rosa Padilla and Izumary Rodriguez took the opportunity to address their classmates one last time.  The girls, who have been best friends and classmates for 16 years, shared their fond memories and dreams for their future.

IMG_1942aWe were thrilled to welcome a well-known deaf reality TV star to be the 2014 Graduation Speaker: three-time contestant on CBS’s The Amazing Race popular reality competition series, Mr. Luke Adams. Luke competed alongside his mother in three seasons of the popular series. Luke is a positive role model for our deaf students, not only for his success on The Amazing Race, but also for his positive impact on both the deaf and hearing communities.

Luke’s message to our students centered on the importance of “The Four P’s”: Plan, Practice, Patience and Perseverance.  He told the students that without these four qualities, he would not have achieved success not only in the Amazing Race competitions, but in life, as well.

He reminded the graduating students that the only thing that deaf people cannot do is hear. The world is full of opportunity for these young adults and with a little planning, practice, patience and perseverance…success can be achieved.

Congratulations to the NYSD 2014 Graduating Class! We will miss you!  Click HERE for pictures from this special event.

NYSD Students Earn Scholarships

ScholarshipsOn Saturday, June 14th, two NYSD seniors, Izumary R. and Rosa P., were awarded the Anita and Blair Mazin scholarships from the Westchester Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) in the amount of $1,000.00 each.  Also on hand to lend support and facilitate communication were NYSD teachers, Mary DiYanni and Sue MacNaughten.

Izumary and Rosa presented their scholarship essays and took questions from HLAA members.  Mary DiYanni was asked to say a few words and remarked on how special it was that both girls, who are best friends and an integral part of our school community, were being honored together.  The girls graciously received their plaques and checks and then took pictures with their fellow scholarship winners.

It was a wonderful experience for Izumary and Rosa, as well as an opportunity to make new connections.  Congratulations, Izumary and Rosa!

Employer Recognition Breakfast

VocationalLast week, Fanwood hosted an Employer Recognition breakfast for all employers that partner with the students in the vocational program.

At the breakfast, NYSD students each took time to personally thank their employers and share a little about what they learned.  Clearly, the students benefit tremendously from this valuable experience and this event allowed us to see how much the employers appreciate working with our students.  Thanks to everyone who helps to make this program happen AND for guiding our students towards success!

Click HERE for a beautiful photo-montage of our students out in the field!

Inspirational Message From Deaf NFL Player, Derrick Coleman

DColeman.jpgBack in January, before the Superbowl, students in Mrs. Zanfardino’s class sent letters of support to Seattle Seahawks Football player, Derrick Coleman.  Last week, the students were thrilled to receive a handwritten letter back.

The class is proud to know their encouragement and support means so much to Derrick Coleman, who is a deaf fullback in the NFL. In his letter, he encourages students to live life with no excuses. He tells them to find a way to make their dreams come true.  Thank you Derrick Coleman.  You are truly an inspiration!

NYSD To Welcome The Amazing Race Competitor, Luke Adams

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

As the school year comes to an end, and senior class students finalize school projects and celebrate traditional rights of passage, their focus remains on one very special day: Graduation. On Friday, June 27, 2014, NYSD seniors will stand together side by side for one last time, dressed in blue and white, eager to take this next step towards their future.

It is important to send this special group of students off with a meaningful message from an inspiring commencement speaker. To do this, New York School for the Deaf is excited to invite Mr. Luke Adams, three-time contestant onCBS’s popular reality competition series The Amazing Race. Luke competed alongside his mother in three seasons of the popular series. Luke is a positive role model for our deaf students, not only for his success on The Amazing Race, but also for his positive impact on both the deaf and hearing communities.

The students, faculty and staff look forward to welcoming Luke Adams; his message is sure to be one our graduating seniors will carry with them as they embark on this journey.

Whole Foods of White Plains Hosts Garden Party at New York School for the Deaf

NYSD Garden 01aWhite Plains, NY June 2014 – In April, New York School for the Deaf, nicknamed Fanwood, received a grant to expand its school garden through Whole Kids Foundation’s School Garden Grant Program, which was created in partnership with FoodCorps to help schools grow students’ relationships with food through gardening.

To celebrate both the grant and The Fanwood Garden, Whole Foods of White Plains offered to host a Garden Party on the school’s campus. Whole foods, along with students and staff members gathered around the garden for introductions and announcements. Katie Cole of Whole Foods along with members of their White Plains “Green Team” provided cookies, watermelon and bottled water to all who attended the party.
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NYSD Executive Director, Dr. Dickinson and Ellen Lynch, Executive Director of the Food Bank for Westchester thanked Whole Foods well as the school’s Food Bank Advisor, Doug DeCandia.  Additionally, Rudy Rodriguez, NYSD teacher and Fanwood Garden coordinator along with the students received recognition for the hard work and effort that goes into the garden on a daily basis.

Dr. Janet Dickinson took a moment to express her appreciation. “Our students learn so much from their experience working in the garden, not only about organic farming, but also the importance of giving back to the community.  We are so appreciative of Whole Foods of White Plains; their support of the students and our program means so much to our community.”

The Fanwood Food Bank Garden is a cooperative effort between New York School for the Deaf and the Food Bank for Westchester.  “This garden provides an opportunity for our students to utilize their life skills, work on vocational training and give back to the community.  In addition it provides students in health and scienNYSD Garden 02ace classes the opportunity to get hands-on experience by learning different aspects of how the garden works” says Executive Director, Dr. Janet Dickinson.

With the assistance and guidance of the Food Bank’s Food Growing Program Coordinator, Doug DeCandia, NYSD is growing organic vegetables and herbs on campus.  Once the vegetables and herbs are harvested, The Food Bank for Westchester distributes the produce to hunger relief programs throughout the county. Last year, the Fanwood Garden contributed 4,108 pounds of produce to the Food Bank.

Deaf Awareness Day at The Rockland Boulders Game

IMG_1178Recently, Fanwood was offered an amazing opportunity from The Rockland Boulders Baseball team and Aidan Mack, producer of the Aidan Mack Show and Aidan Mack’s Lifestyle Blog.  The Rockland Boulders Baseball team and Aidan Mack teamed up to host a Deaf Awareness Day on Sunday, May 25TH, 2014.  In honor of this special event, they offered our school a reduced rate on all tickets to watch their baseball game on that day.

We are so appreciative of the fact that NYSD was included in the Deaf Awareness Day event at the Rockland Boulders game.  As you all know, fundraising opportunities are so important to Fanwood especially as the budget cuts we continue to absorb severely limit the programs that are so important to our students.

Equally as meaningful to us, was the opportunity to raise awareness for not only New York School for the Deaf, but for the greater Deaf Community. This event was a great way to expose the community to our rich deaf culture and language.  The support of local organizations, such as The Rockland Boulders and Aidan Mack means so much to our School community.

The students, families and friends that were in attendance during the game all had such a wonderful time and have expressed their deep appreciation for being included in this event. It was heartwarming to see such the smiles on their faces as they cheered on the team.  A big thanks you to The Rockland Boulder and Aidan Mack.

Click HERE for more pictures from this event


2014 Senior Prom

Students at PromCongratulations to the Senior Class of 2014! Friday’s prom at Sleepy Hollow Country Club was a huge success!

The decorations were beautiful and all the students and staff were dressed to impress. There were many highlights of the night, but of course one of the most memorable was the traditional crowning of the King and Queen.  All guests were thrilled to learn that Rosa P. and Arbor D. were named the 2014 Prom Queen and King! Congratulations!

Click HERE for Senior Prom pictures.