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Locals raising funds for full immersion trip into deaf culture and community

by Trinity Gruenberg

Kyara Topp of Verndale and Danielle Peltier of Bertha are working to raise funds to go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip with their college class for a fully immersive experience.

Topp and Peltier are two of eight American Sign Language (ASL) students, in a two-year program through Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

This March, they hope to take a class trip to Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. The university is a private, federally-chartered research university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. It was founded in 1864 as a grammar school for both deaf and blind children.

The mission to start a school for the deaf began in 1816 when Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet crossed the Atlantic from Paris, France, to the United States with a dream to open the country’s first school for deaf education.

During Gallaudet’s first stop in England, schools were taught strictly by oralism.

“A deaf person misses 70-80% of what you are saying just by reading your lips,” explained Topp.

Gallaudet went to a French University where Clerc taught French sign language. Gallaudet taught Clerc English, and Clerc created ASL . . .


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