(Lake Wales, FL)
Wow! How amazing. I never knew much of anything about Deaf history, and it is so interesting. I knew the bare basics of Helen Keller from books and TV and that Gallaudet was a very special school. I also knew some about Heather Whitestone because my cousin, Angela Hunt, wrote a book with her years ago, but now I see I have so much more to learn.
After reading your history lesson, I think my favorite historical figure would have to be Laura Bridgman and how she was able to write her own name and read her lessons in geography, astronomy, and religion.
I have been a special education teacher for 10 years, and am in awe of Dr. Howe’s passion and perseverance. He must have been beyond elated with Laura’s success, proving that what others might have considered an impossible feat, is in fact an achievable goal. I can only begin to imagine his necessary dedication to the education and betterment of another person. To think that he was able to reach beyond what the world would believe possible for Laura, to touch her heart and give her the most wonderful gifts anyone could receive – education, knowledge, self-esteem, and friendship.
I love to discover links between people, places, or things, so when I read that Charles Dickens had written about Laura, I was surprised and impressed, but then to learn that the connection went even further down through Anne Sullivan, educated by Laura Bridgman, to Kate Keller choosing Anne to teach her precious daughter Helen – What an awesome story!
I suppose this short essay has become more about Dr. Howe and how he was able to change the lives of so many people who might otherwise have been left behind. If we had more teachers with just a mere fraction of his abilities, our education system and our children would be much better off.
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