International Day of Persons with Disabilities - December 3

Posted On Friday December 02, 2022
Melanie Thomas
Melanie Thomas, Teacher for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, SD73

In the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan, we prioritize human and social development, and our goal is: Every learner will feel welcome, safe, and connected to their environments (district- school-classroom).

In our District, we recognize that December is Universal Human Rights Month, and that December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To acknowledge this day, grade 6-12 classes had an opportunity to participate in an interactive webinar led by four youths with lived experiences of having a disability and speaking about what this important day means to them. The event was put on by the Rick Hansen Foundation. One speaker was Elise Doucet, a young Deaf climate activist from Kamloops.

On this day, SD73 would like to highlight Melanie Thomas, the SD73 Teacher for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and the work she does.

As a Teacher of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (TDHH), I see my role as largely focussed on fostering self-advocacy and pride in my Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) students. As well, helping to foster a sense of belonging and community within the Deaf/Hard of Hearing culture is also vital. One way we have done this is our yearly "McQueen Lake Deaf/Hard of Hearing camp", held in the late spring. What's unique about this trip is that we invite surrounding districts, such as Vernon, Kelowna, Salmon Arm and Merritt to join, thus helping to establish friendships from within and outside of our district with other "DHH" kids! It's three days of connecting, learning from and hosting vibrant and successful DHH role models for our students to meet, and see that the world is at their feet, too! It's a highlight of the year, and beautiful McQueen Lake is the perfect environment to gather.

Melanie Thomas, Teacher for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, SD73

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