GoodNews: TSD Ranger to Ranger - September 12, 2022


Welcome to Good News!
Highlighting Achievements and Successes at
the Texas School for the Deaf.

Volume 7, Issue 1

Opening Day
What's your superpower?
TSD staff and teachers gathered at this year's opening of school on August 8th to celebrate everyone's unique superpowers like having the ability to understand and share feelings of others and coming up with new ideas and solutions.
To help throughout the year, each staff member was given a kit with special superpowers like rubber bands for flexibility, Snickers for humor, and a safety pin as a reminder to keep students safe.
Before participating in heroic games, staff learned about safety initiatives, deferred maintenance projects, COVID-19 protocols, and the school's strategic plan status.
New staff and teachers were recognized and received superhero props that were tied to their unique gifts like steering a team in the right direction with a power ring, fighting off negative vibes with a rainbow shield, and thriving in a competitive game with a Rubik's Cubes.
The event ended with a super performance by the
TSD's Eternal Rockettes ASL interpretation of Adam Lambert's My Superpower.
Bethany Borsotti and Amy Bachtel, kindergarten teachers, are proudly wearing superhero masks while showing their muscles and wide smiles.
Nick Bannon displays his creativity superpower while wearing a headdress made of caution tape.
Elementary Assistant Principal Krista Brown attempts to lift a large replica of Thor’s hammer on the stage.
HR staff members take turns on stage to address the new hires, sharing words of encouragement.
Group photo of the TSD staff who worked on the opening of school event.


School Safety Training

Safety is a number one priority at TSD, and it's the school's belief that preparedness and training in proper safety protocols will help mitigate incidents and prevent emergencies.
Recognizing its importance, TSD partnered with the Texas Department of Public Safety - Capitol Region to provide our teachers and staff with training on active shooter response.
Sergeants V. Taylor and A. Salinas' presentation touched on previous active shooter events and the best way to respond in such emergencies. Sgt. Taylor brought up the school's Standard Response Protocol (SRP) and effective response strategies in the event of an emergency.
TSD employees look at safety fliers placed on the table.
Sergeant Salinas stands on stage, addressing the audience regarding school safety.
Sergeant Taylor stands on stage showing the active shooter response sheet.
Sergeant Taylor stands on stage, showing the standard response protocol.

TSD Welcomes New Teachers
Our 2022-2023 new teachers is one of our largest cohorts to date, and the energy and positivity they bring to TSD is inspiring!
We welcome them to TSD and hope everyone has a wonderful school year!
Photo of new teachers.
Front Row, L to R: Karen Gilbert (ELC), Susie Kornkven (ACCESS), Sherry Pedersen (ELC), Kaitlyn Shirey (Elementary), Milana Boren (Elementary), Roxanne Martinez (Middle School), Susan Sien (ACCESS), Chrissy Keller (Elementary), Emily Johnson (HS), Quanchen Warmack (HS)
Back Row, L to R: Joseph Bingham (MS), Alton Markel (MS), Charles Johnson (HS), Mark Ferrara (MS), Joni Shouse (HS), Austin Bishop (HS), Stefania Sarkic (HS), Yuko Sugiura (Elementary), Cindy Siebert (Elementary)

Troy Kotsur Visits TSD

The TSD community received a summer surprise with a special visit by Oscar Award winner Troy Kotsur. Troy was at TSD filming for an upcoming documentary by the Austin-based non-profit Emergent Order Foundation.
While at TSD, Troy gave a short workshop to TSD theater students before taking the stage at the R.L. Auditorium to talk to his fans about life as an actor who happens to be deaf.
After his speech, Troy shared what he hopes to instill in young deaf actors to Spectrum News, "That's why I speak to these kids…to inspire them…to give them hope. There is so much room for creativity, and there are so many opportunities. I don't want these kids to limit themselves. And if I can do it, that means they can do it too, especially deaf children..."

You can see more photos from the event HERE.
Photo of Academy Award winner Troy Kotsur on stage, talking to the audience.
Bobbie Beth's mother and Troy Kotsur share a hug.
Photo shows Troy Kotsur with fans.
Photo shows Troy Kotsur with TSD Security Supervisor David Ocasio.
Photo shows Troy Kotsur with fans.

Wawa Encourages Graduating Class to Make Dreams a Reality

Acclaimed hip-hop recording artist, Warren “Wawa” Snipe, delivered the commencement address before 62 TSD graduates in June 2022.  Wawa had been to TSD as a recruiter for Gallaudet University in the ‘90s, but was surprised when arriving at the campus for graduation, sharing, “I looked down South Congress Avenue and as I turned the corner, I saw something that looked familiar. I Googled TSD real quick and it said I was 40 feet away. I was shocked! It looks so different. It’s like a mini college here. The feel. The vibe. It’s beautiful."
He gave the new graduates advice regarding pursuing their dreams, and stressed the importance of acknowledging the influence given by their peers, teachers, administrators, and families and how that sets their foundation.
Wawa added that as graduates, they have new responsibilities to their community and themselves. He encouraged them to help the community and be that role model to the next generation, and recommended they continue learning.
He ended by challenging them to take their dream, set goals, make it a reality, and never let anyone discourage them. “Never let anyone steal your vision,” he said, “They may not understand your dream, and that is okay. It’s not their dream. It’s yours. What you have to do is develop that dream, work on it, make it a reality, and then they will see it.

You can see more photos of the graduation ceremony HERE
Drone aerial photo of outdoor graduation ceremony.
Photo shows Wawa, who is wearing a Deaf Vibe t-shirt, on stage pointing at the graduating class with both hands.

Texas Deaf Festival Helps
Support TSD Rangers
Texas Deaf Festival generously donated $1500 worth of school supplies to the Elementary Department to help kick off the 2022-2023 school year.  Contributions such as this go a long way towards supporting our students and staff.  The Elementary Department would like to extend their sincerest gratitude towards the Texas Deaf Festival and the members who organized this contribution.
Committee members include Lucy Robles, Sandra Cavazos, Richard Zorola, Terrace Harris, and Mike Bostick, many of whom are TSD alumni! 
Photo shows TSD elementary students and teachers with representatives from Texas Deaf Festival standing behind donated school supplies.
A funny photo shows TSD elementary students and teachers with representatives from Texas Deaf Festival standing behind donated school supplies.

Student Spotlight: Sam S.
Special Olympian Sam S. helped Team Texas basketball team win gold at the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando this past summer.
When asked about his experience, Sam responded, "It was a new challenge... It was no easy feat."
He was encouraged by his coach to try out for Team Texas in August 2021. When he arrived at the tryouts, Sam mentioned being the only Deaf player. This, however, didn't dissuade him one bit. "This was something that I wanted to do for so long – to be in that league and travel. It was really my wish and my dream. I went in and made it a reality."
Special Olympics Texas sent over 300 athletes to the Games and won over 100 medals.
Congratulations, Sam!
Photo shows Team Texas basketball, gold medal champions!
Photo shows Sam with his head coach.
Photo shows Sam wearing his gold medal in front of the ESPN Wide World of Sports globe.

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