KSD graduates told ‘We need more deaf leaders’

Members of the Kentucky School for the Deaf Class of 2019 walked across the stage and received their diplomas Thursday afternoon.

Alexandra Shupe wipes a tear away during KSD graduation ceremony. (Photo by Robin Hart)

Even though the class consisted of just nine members, the gymnasium bleachers were full of proud families, friends and teachers. A few tears were shed as a video showing photos of the graduates and their farewell speeches was shown on a large screen.

State Sen. Rick Girdler was on hand and presented each graduate with a Senate citation congratulating them on their successful KSD career. The Salutatorian address was given by Sulmi Yamileth Gomez Vasques and Sarah Joiner gave the Valedictorian speech.

Graduating senior Jenna Pratt presented the school with gifts from the seniors, which included two planter boxes and two boxwood shrubs to help beautify the campus; and a gas grill and three tricycles to the Student Life Department for students who live in the dormitories during the week.

Janet Noel, a member of the KSD Class of 1989 who works with hearing, deaf, and deaf and blind students to improve their communication skills, gave the commencement address.

After describing her background and life experiences, Noel encouraged the graduates to continue learning and become leaders in their communities.

“We need more deaf leaders,” Noel said.

The KSD Class of 2019 are: Aeiral Hope Collins, Gerod Winston Haynes, Parrie Kay Herring, Ethan Raymond Johnson, Sarah Olivia Joiner, Jenna Rose Pratt, Alexandra Leigh Shupe, Jessica Renee Simon and Sulmi Yamileth Gomez Vasquez.