(Big Bear City, CA)
I am impressed most by Abbe de L’Epee and his effort to educate the deaf. After meeting two deaf sisters, he decided to dedicate his life to educating the deaf. After establishing the first free deaf school, he was able to learn all sorts of signs the students brought with them from their home and background and use them to teach his students. As a result, more schools were founded with students bringing back the language to their neighborhoods and homes.
I am impressed because he decided to do something to help the deaf learn instead of meeting the two sisters and wishing them well. He became involved and it clearly became his passion. It is because of people with passion like his, that we have seen the acceptance of ASL as a language and its resultant growth, popularity and even exposure in TV shows and movies. The deaf are no different from the rest of us who may speak different languages. They have their own language, culture and enjoy life as do others. Thank you Abbe de L’Epee for making the bold move to find out how to educate the deaf.