Deaf community comes together

Around 100 deaf and hard of hearing middle and high school students from Virginia and North Carolina will come together to enjoy Liberty University’s Deaf Field Day Friday, Oct. 21. 

This is the first time Liberty has put together an event like this for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Around 50 Liberty students will be volunteering at the event.

“There’s never been an event like this one, the way we’re putting this one on at the university level in the state of Virginia,” Jackie Owen, director of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at Liberty, said.

Attendees will be able to take part in Convocation, seated in the deaf section with a staff American Sign Language interpreter. Dan Hall will be speaking in Convocation. After an accident in 2016, Hall was left as a quadriplegic. According to his website, he uses his ministry to share his journey from near death to a new beginning. Hall also provides executive coaching, personnel training and motivational speaking.

Later that day, Warren “Wawa” Snipe, deaf rapper and actor, will speak to attendees of Deaf Field Day. Snipe went viral when he performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the Super Bowl in 2021 alongside Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan. He uses dip-hop, a deaf hip-hop style, to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities. 

Senior high school attendees of the event will be entered into a raffle for the chance to win one of two $2,500 scholarships. 

“My goal is for the kids to have fun, make social connections with other deaf and hard of hearing students and to encourage these deaf students to pursue post-secondary education, making Liberty University their first choice,” Owen said.

Merchandise and prizes will also be given out at the event.

“Several cool promotional items will be given out at the event and with the help of professor Keith Oglesby and his COAL team, we have some awesome field games planned,” Owen said. “It’s going to be a great day.”

Lauren  Gestadt, student at Liberty, appreciates the networking and connection opportunities that events like this provide.

“Events like Deaf Field Day help to bridge the local deaf community with interpreting majors, deaf and hard of hearing students and even agencies together to better support the deaf community,” Gebstadt said. “The deaf community as a whole is founded on social collectivism, making these kinds of events helpful for networking and connection with like-minded individuals.”

Smith is the news editor for the Liberty Champion

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