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Student learned ASL after coming to the U.S.
August 8, 2022
Israel Diaz Salazar
Grade: 7 School: Cabrillo Middle School District: Ventura Unified School District ACSA region: 13 Israel Diaz Salazar has overcome a great deal in a very short time. Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, with profound deafness, Israel moved to the United States and enrolled at Cabrillo Middle School in March 2020. He joined the school’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program where teachers quickly realized he needed extra support. He could not hear his parents’ Mixteco language and his school in Mexico did not teach sign language. The COVID-19 pandemic created additional challenges for Israel as he missed out on in-person instruction.
But thanks to the relentless efforts of his DHH teacher Marcie Ball and his principal Lorelle Dawes, Israel started online classes. By April 2021, he was back at Cabrillo Middle with in-person instruction. Today, Israel continues to make great strides in his development and has gained confidence through his daily interactions with his classmates and teachers.
What does it mean to you to win the ACSA Every Student Succeeding award? It’s really exciting to win the award.
You’ve had to go through a lot in your young life. Can you explain some of the challenges of moving to a new country at such a young age? I liked growing up in Mexico and then moving here to Ventura I also enjoyed and liked.
Can you talk to me about what it was like moving from Mexico learning American Sign Language? To be honest, moving here was a little scary and having to learn ASL was also equally scary for me.
How did your teachers help you learn American Sign Language? And how have they helped you adjust to life in Ventura? My teacher in my DHH classroom, she’s the one that helped me learn my vocabulary and learn to begin to sign.
You’ve gone through so much in your childhood, can you explain to me just how proud you are of yourself? I’m really proud of myself for being able to learn how to read and write while I’m here. I’m really proud of myself for the things that I have been able to accomplish in math as well.
What would your advice be to students who are facing similar challenges to what you have faced? I think one of the biggest things I would tell them is to be respectful to each other when you’re learning new things and in this kind of environment.
2022 Region 13 Every Student Succeeding Israel Diaz Salazar.