By: Beth Swanberg (06/13/2016)
Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet is my favorite deaf person for several reasons. First, Gallaudet, who was born December 10, 1787 in Pennsylvania and died September 10, 1851, was a Yale educated man who graduated with high honors. And, he also studied theology in order to minister to people. He used his education to better other peoples’ lives.
Secondly, Gallaudet wished to help people including Alice Cogswell, who was a nine year old deaf girl. Gallaudet wished to teach Alice to communicate. This sprouted a desire to learn different methods to teach deaf students. He traveled to Europe to find the knowledge he desperately needed. Eventually, he met Abbe Sicard, head of the deaf school in Paris. Gallaudet learned sign language from Sicard and other teachers at the Paris school. One of the teachers was Laurent Clerc, who would later help Gallaudet start his own American school for the deaf.
One of the first students to enroll in the new school for the deaf was Alice Cogswell.
Last, I appreciate that Gallaudet was a family man who worked at the school until 1831. He then went on to minister to the insane and those in prisons.. The education of the deaf, in particular, made great strides because of his success in teaching the deaf to communicate. His dedication to bettering peoples’ lives are still impacting us today.