Deaf teen aims to build on success in N.Y.- mlive.com


Deaf teen aims to build on success in N.Y.- mlive.com

Golden Apple

Monday, May 21, 2007
By Chad Swiatecki
cswiatecki@flintjournal.com • 810.766.6237

FLINT – If she wanted to, Anna McCall could go out and snag a well-paying job as a Web site designer fresh out of high school.

That’s the assessment of Dave Banks, Anna’s Web design instructor at the GASC Technology Center. He said the Michigan School for the Deaf teen is one of his most talented students.

“I can’t see her not doing well in this field because she attacked her work ’til she got everything right and showed she has what it takes to become a leader,” Banks said of Anna, who recently earned a professional-level certification that qualifies her to work professionally.

“The nice thing is she had no problems doing things in class where she had to give her opinions or get her ideas across.”

Even with her certification, the professional world will have to wait for Anna, who plans to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York this fall and major in Web design.

Her upcoming graduation caps off a school career that includes a 3.9 grade-point average, a place on MSD’s Academic Bowl team, roles in high school stage productions and playing basketball and softball.

The Clawson native, who has attended MSD for 21/2 years and lives on campus during the week, also enjoys spending time doing community service at nursing homes and libraries, activities organized through her hometown church.

“Growing up in church, they would ask for volunteers, and I thought I should go, that this is something that I should do,” Anna, 17, said through an interpreter.

“I enjoyed going out and doing things like giving food to the homeless because I feel like I helped people, and that’s a good feeling. That’s a really special part of my life.”

The second deaf child of two deaf parents, Anna said her move from a mainstreamed program in Clawson High School to MSD made learning a more natural experience.

That’s partly because the staff and students use sign language with the same ease she experienced growing up in a family immersed in deaf culture.

“Being in a deaf family makes it feel like a small world, and I’m glad I grew up in that culture because it made for a really strong bond,” she said. “Being (at MSD) improved my social experience, and it’s been a big part of my life.

“Before, I’d say I was a little more passive, but here I’ve learned more about myself and about other people as well.”

That growth has given her the confidence to make the move to Rochester, N.Y., for school, where she’ll have to learn to flourish away from the help of family and friends.

“I’m excited and a little nervous because when I get there, I won’t have the people around me I depend on here,” she said. “It will be different, but I’m also looking forward to the chance to be more independent.”

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