Wednesday, August 30, was a big day for the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) and its partners in opening doors of opportunity for the Deaf community.
It was a day of saying thank you to persons and companies that have helped SDEAS reach its 25th or silver year of serving the Deaf by providing them jobs, access to information and a means of expressing their talents and skills.
SDEAS Dean Nicky Templo-Perez showed up bright and early at Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle to welcome guests. Deaf and hearing SDEAS staff in corporate attire joined hands to man the registration table, mingle with guests and usher them in the hall where hosts Leo Sulse (Chair, Center for Academics) and FSL (Filipino Sign Language) faculty Maria Elena Lozada were waiting for them before the program started.
Vice Chancellor for Academics Geronio ‘Onyoy’ Ulayao was all smiles as he welcomed guests with a short speech.
Short videos about how SDEAS’ community partners make life better for the Deaf, companies that employ the Deaf, and how the school’s partners provide access to the Deaf were shown.
Elena herself attests to the fact she can now attend Sunday Mass and watch a play in the theater, thanks to the partners’ efforts in helping Deaf people like her gain access to information.
She also joined Silent Steps, a student dance group that performed that day, to enhance her talent in dance.
Excitement was written all over Elena’s face and gestures as she explained why the plaque SDEAS’ partners and friends were about to receive were designed as such.
It’s shaped like fire to symbolize the passion for service and resource sharing for the development of the Filipino Deaf community.
The plaque is made of glass to show transparency of the partnerships and the sensitivity needed in dealing with issues about Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). It also reinforces the fact that all partnerships hinge on mutual respect and honesty.
The small clock at the upper left hand portion of the plaque, on the other hand, represents SDEAS’ history and the partnerships it has made through the years. It also represents upcoming projects with SDEAS’ partners.
Awards were given to San Isidro Labrador Parish, ABS-CBN Channel (ANC), GMA Network Inc., TV5, Red Turnip Theater and filmmaker Myrna ‘Mirana’ Miranda, for giving the Deaf access to worship, news, theater and film.
Nippon Foundation, PEN-International, the US Embassy in the Philippines and former SDEAS dean Christine B. dela Torre received awards for their continued support of SDEAS students and programs.
About nineteen (19) companies and individuals were were also recognized for working closely with SDEAS in employing Deaf Benildeans, including Commission on Elections (COMELEC), Makati Shangri-La Manila, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Ristorante delle Mitre, Sevilla Candle Factory, Resources for the Blind, Inc., and Rotary Club University District of Manila.
Dean Nicky wrapped up the program with a quote from Archimedes, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” She then likened the School’s partners as the fulcrum on which the Deaf Program is placed. SDEAS would not have made it this far without their help.
Food and laughter overflowing following the program was a testament to how far SDEAS has come after 25 years, and how much further it can go to help more Deaf people find their place and be members of an inclusive society.