Deaf : Deaf And Learn Sign Language Essay

997 Words Feb 23rd, 2016 4 Pages
“And the new Miss America 1995, Miss Alabama, Heather Whitestone!” Those are the words Regis Philbin said at the Miss America pageant in 1995 announcing the winner. But this winner had something more unique about her than a usual beauty contestant- she was deaf. In one instant, Heather Whitestone made history and became the first deaf Miss America. Not only that, she became the first woman to win Miss America with any type of disability. But there is so much more to her than the fact that she is deaf.
Heather was born on February 24th, 1973. She was not born deaf. As like many deaf people who become deaf because of a sickness, Heather became deaf due to the flu when she was a little over a year old. There are two types of deaf parents. One type wants their child to embrace being deaf and learn sign language. The second type wants to help their child be as “normal” as possible and has them learn to speak. Heather’s mother was the second type and had Heather learn to talk. American Sign Language was not used by Heather until her last year of high school.
Heather did not want her disability to hold her back. She was a student at a public school all the way up to 12 years old. After that, she attended the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, but ultimately going back to a public high school in Alabama to finish her juvenile education. Proving how helpful it is to win a pageant if you are going to educate yourself further than high school, Heather used the scholarship…

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