Young man hailed as scholar at U.S. school

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Credits his education at schools for the deaf with his success

A former student of the now-shuttered School for the Deaf in St. John’s has been chosen as an outstanding undergraduate scholar at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

Graham Forsey, a fourth-year management and information systems student, receives access services from RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Graham Forsey has been selected as an outstanding undergraduate scholar at the Rochester Institute of Technology, which has resources for deaf students. — Photo courtesy of the Rochester Institute of Technology

The St. John’s man selected RIT because of the supports at the school, located in New York state.

“RIT is the largest employer of interpreters if you don’t include the United Nations, and there are many other deaf and hard of hearing students as well — approximately 1,600,” Forsey said by email.

“So with this large group, virtually all other hearing people know some basic signs and classmates and professors are generally very comfortable working with deaf people. We treat each other equally and with familiarity and respect, which is a really great thing to have in an educational setting.”

According to a letter from RIT’s vice-president for academic affairs Jeremy Haefner, Forsey belongs to “an elite group of students who have completed a minimum of 83 credit hours of study and have established a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.85 for all work completed at the university as of the previous spring term.”

He is among those being honoured at a reception in April.

Forsey said he chose to finish high school at Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton, Ont., also because of the supports available.

“When the government announced that Newfoundland school for the Deaf would be closing, with all students sent to Gonzaga High School or their respective local school boards, I knew that I had to go to Ontario, the nearest province with a school for the deaf,” Forsey said in an email to The Telegram.

“My aunt in Ontario essentially became my legal guardian in order for me to be eligible to attend schools in Ontario.”

The Newfoundland school closed in 2010, but Forsey left after Grade 9 in 2007 because he said there were only two or three teachers teaching high school subjects there at the time.

Forsey said he is where he is now because of his education in schools for the deaf, and the experience helped him make use of his abilities in university.

“The learning environment in schools for the deaf was ideal for me, allowing me to freely foster my leadership and academic potential to its fullest, with language barriers out of the way — no constant worrying about where and how to find interpreters,” he said.

Forsey said he’s got a job lined up after graduation next spring as a business system analyst at Whirlpool.

Organizations: Rochester Institute of Technology, U.S. school, National Technical Institute for the Deaf.The St. John United Nations Newfoundland school Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf Gonzaga High School

Geographic location: Ontario, New York, Milton

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Recent comments

  • styles
    January 03, 2014 - 00:35

    Congratulations Graham. Of course, there was never any doubt that you could and would be successful out there in the world! Very happy for both you and your family.

  • Tracey Forsey
    January 02, 2014 - 23:51

    We are beaming with pride!! I guess I don't have to worry about teaching you how to read anymore:))

  • Tracey Forsey
    January 02, 2014 - 14:47

    My first thought when I found out Graham was deaf was how am I going to teach this beautiful boy how to read. Look at you now!! We're beaming with pride :)

  • Rachel Forsey
    January 02, 2014 - 13:01

    I'm so proud of you, Graham! I know being away from your family was hard on you but you managed it. Outstanding undergraduate scholar? You totally deserved it.