A Silent Dinner

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A Silent Dinner

Alexander Greene, Staff Writer

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I was born deaf, which means I have faced struggles throughout my life, but one of my biggest struggles has been solved, hearing. I am fortunate to be able to have the technology that is available today that allows me to hear. Many people who are deaf either cannot afford hearing aids or simply chose to forego them.

 

I was granted an opportunity to meet students from the Georgia School for the Deaf through a partnership with Darlington where a  “Silent Dinner” was hosted. This dinner meant that you had to eat a meal with students from both schools and only communicate by using sign language or written paper; no speaking was allowed.

 

When I was young, I went to a school similar to GSD, Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, and the dinner made me remember what it was like going there. I got to interact with the teachers from GSD in the same way I did at VSDB. I felt that this was a rewarding opportunity for me to be able to communicate with peers who are just like me, and I think that being so similar to them and having the same experiences growing up made us connect well.

 

One of the conversations I had with a senior was about how she can listen to music. A common misconception is that deaf people cannot hear music, and while they cannot “hear” the music, they can still understand it. She explained to me that she could hear very little out of one ear, and she uses the bass of the music to understand it. This was surprising to some students because they do not realize that being “deaf” means that you cannot enjoy the same things that “hearing” people do like sports, music and even speaking. I relate to this because I am able to swim on a team and still understand my coach and compete in meets. I met a few swimmers at the event, but a lot of them played basketball, which shows that nothing is impossible.

 

Another thing that was interesting about the students’ interaction was that they used different methods of communication other than sign language; one student brought in paper and pencil and wrote everything she wanted to say, and the students were able to respond just like they were having a normal conversation.

 

I am delighted that Darlington has reached out to GSD and that many students were able to experience something like this. I think that by having this event, it raised awareness and opened a lot of people’s minds on how to communicate with people, even if it is a little more difficult, which I think is an essential skill to have later in life. Every student was genuinely having a good time and enjoyed getting to learn about everyone. I hope that Darlington will reach out to GSD soon to plan another meeting because it was an unforgettable experience.

 

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