GoodNews: Texas School for the Deaf Ranger to Ranger - January 5, 2023

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

Volume 7, Issue 4

Signing Santa at
Barton Creek Square

Santa Claus came to town to visit children at the annual Signing Santa event at Barton Creek Square in early December.
The line stretched for hours as kids waited patiently to tell Ol' Saint Nick their Christmas wishes. After posing for a photo with the famous guy, Santa gave each little one a small gift straight from his North Pole workshop.
Special thanks to North Austin Optimists Club for sponsoring the event and Michael Barker Photography for capturing those special moments.
Read more about Santa (aka Charles Graves) later in this issue.
Photo shows TSD's Sign Choir and staff with Santa Claus.
Aerial photo of a line of people waiting to talk to Santa Claus.
Photo shows Santa Claus with three kids wearing pajamas. 

TSD Students Deliver Cookies to Legislative Leaders

In December, TSD students from the Culinary Arts program delivered homemade holiday cookies to state leaders.
The selection of holiday treats included chocolate chip cookies, German snowballs, Texas stars, classic butter cookies, and candy cane cookies, all designed to thank TSD's partner agencies, legislators, and staff for their hard work and support.
Students got to meet Senator Susan Eckhardt, Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) Executive Director Mike Novak, as well as Emily Robinson, TEA’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program Administrator.
Before snapping a group photo, Senator Eckhardt thanked the students for making and delivering the cookies to her and her staff. She said she always looks forward to the delicious cookies.
Mr. Novak also shared his pleasure in meeting students from the school. He told the kids that he is not only proud of the school and the wonderful partnership, but he is extremely proud of the students.

You can find more photos
Photo shows five TSD Culinary Arts students in front of the Texas State Capitol building wearing their black chef coats.
Photo shows the Culinary Arts students and their teacher in front of the Christmas tree in the Texas Senate chamber
Photo shows the Culinary Arts students and TSD staff with Senator Sarah Eckhardt
Photo shows a TSD Culinary Arts student sitting on Executive Director Mike Novak's chair surrounded by the other students and Mr. Novak
Photo shows TSD Culinary Arts students standing with Ms. Emily Robinson at the lobby of the William B. Travis Building

TSD Holiday Celebration

The holiday celebration for the students and staff has become an annual tradition coordinated through the TSD's Superintendent's Office. This year, student representatives met with Superintendent Claire Bugen to pitch their requested places to have their celebration.
At a recent Governing Board meeting, Superintendent Bugen shared how impressed she was by the students.  She stated, "I held several negotiation sessions with the kids. I made them discuss with me the variables one needs to consider in an off-campus celebration, and I was totally impressed. They researched the distance from TSD, the cost of gas, and the entry fees."
Holiday celebrations took place at Indigo Play (Early Learning Center), Epic Fun (Elementary), Urban Air (Middle School), and Main Event (High School).
Photo of ELC students enjoying a slide at Indigo Play.
Photo showing a group of Elementary students and staff posing with smiles at Epic Fun
Photo shows a Middle School student giving a thumbs up while holding a bowling ball at Urban Air
Photo shows high school students and a teacher posing with smiles at Main Event

Egg Drop Competition

Middle School students participated in the 2022 Virtual Science Fair Egg Drop Competition under the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) Youth Program. They selected our 8th grade Ava B. out of 100 students based on the originality of her design, the height of the egg dropping without breaking, and the integrity of the creation.
Please congratulate Ava B. if you see her.
Photo shows Ava B. holding her teddy bear, preparing for the egg drop competition
Photo shows Ava B. preparing to drop her egg-protecting teddy bear from the balcony
Photo shows Ava B. holding the unbroken egg.

Spotlight: Tech Girls

Each year, up to ten female Middle School students can register to participate in Tech Girls.  This organization, which is affiliated with Girl Scouts, focuses on STEM.
Tara Holaday and Laura Christian spearhead the organization, and the experiences their group gets to have are incredibly engaging and empowering.  Mrs. Christian stated, “We enjoy seeing these students participate so enthusiastically in different STEM projects.  Over the course of each year, we see tremendous growth in each student's leadership abilities, presentation skills, and confidence in their STEM skills."
Ms. Holaday explained, "We meet once a month, and we do different themes each time.”  For their Engineering experience, the group worked on assembling and weighing their artificial satellite for the “Mission to Mars” project. The girls were assigned roles such as project manager, engineer, logistics, and data analyst and given specific materials to build an artificial satellite with the criteria of a limited mass.
At their second meeting, they participated in a crime scene investigation using a hair to determine the guilty suspect.
They have several more fun events lined up for this year, including having a marine biologist come in January to give a presentation. Then they plan on going on a field trip to Cedar Creek to kayak down the Colorado river and meet at McKinney Roughs for rock climbing, ziplining, and other problem solving activities.
Ms. Holaday shared, "We thank the Girls Scouts of Central Texas Team for this opportunity for our students! Our students also love getting meals from them!”
Four middle school students stand together, all wearing navy blue t-shirts that read “Tech Girls” four times in different colors - orange, yellow, white, and blue.
Teacher Tara Holaday stands on top of her lab table as students sit at lab tables around the room, apparently hanging onto her every word.
Six students appear to cheer and celebrate as they stand, facing the front of the classroom where they are engaged in their Mission to Mars project.  A large model of Earth hangs from the ceiling in the background.
Four students are engaged in a presentation with facial expressions showing shock and curiosity while a large red planet hangs from the ceiling.
Two students sit at a lab table, working together on their Mission to Mars project.
A group of four students and Tara Holaday sit around a lab table that has yellow police tape draped across it.  The students are wearing navy Tech Girls t-shirts.  They have devices (iPads and a laptop) in front of them as they try to narrow down the suspect.
Four students sit around a black lab table that has yellow police tape across it, forming an X.  The students all have clipboards and are using masking tape to affix hair samples to their papers.

Spotlight: Charles Graves
(aka Santa Charles)

Can you believe Santa is from TSD?
Well, this Santa is an alumni of TSD (Class of 1990) and has worked at the school for over 22 years. His name is Charles Graves, aka Santa Charles.
Santa Charles received a lot of media attention as he traveled across the nation to meet Deaf children and listen to their Christmas wishes. As he told NBC 5 news reporter Vince Sims, "I could see the Deaf children, their joy... It was a magical experience for the Deaf children to see a Deaf Santa Claus, someone who could sign."
It all started with an awkward encounter with hearing Santas. As he explained to the Associated Press, "As a child, I was very excited to receive a gift, but then you just kind of go away...there's no connection there. Children look at me now and they're like, wow, you know, there's a connection there with Deaf culture."
Thank you Santa Charles. TSD is very proud of you!
Photo of Santa Charles Graves sitting on a green couch.

The Bisons Reached Division III Playoffs with a Few TSD Alums

Gallaudet University Bisons returned to the Division III NCAA tournament for the second time in school history. That's big news, right?
The bigger news, however, is that ten athletes of a roster of 70 players hailed from TSD. Players included: Zarek Nathanson, Zefan Nathanson, Trey Johnson, Taran Johnson, Preston Garrett, Conner Egan, Joshua Saaty, Kylar Sicoli, Jack Scarboro, and Chandler Sexton-Ruiz.
This is yet another example showing that Texas produces the best football players.
Photo shows pictures of Gallaudet Bison football players who are TSD Rangers alumni. Clockwise from top-left: Conner Egan, Preston Garrett, Taran Johnson, Trey Johnson, Zefan Nathanson, Kylar Sicoli, Chandler Sexton Ruiz, John Scarboro, Joshua Saaty, Zarek Nathanson.
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