“Thanks. I finally found where I belong.”
That was the note one high school student wrote as she returned home from a six-day visit to Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
She was one of nearly 200 deaf or hard-of-hearing high school students from across the country who came to Rochester for “Explore Your Future,” where they get a taste of college life by taking introductory classes in a variety of subjects, sleeping in dorms and meeting others like themselves.
This was the 28th summer EYF has been held at RIT/NTID. They experienced sessions in lab science technology, cyber bullying, making business plans, constructing a car made of Legos, and they heard about possible health care careers from a deaf physician.
In the evenings, they went bowling, enjoyed an amusement park and had a dance. Many of the campers come from schools with very few deaf or hard-of-hearing students. Students like Matt Langevin, from Biddeford, Maine, said he experienced a bit of a culture shock being somewhere where so many others were deaf or hard of hearing.
“I liked the experience, to be in that environment,” he said.
Many of the students use sign language to communicate. Others, like Langevin, didn’t. But the diversity in communication didn’t stop him from making many new friends he’ll be keeping in contact with.
Cameron Frassetta, of Camp Hill, Pa., said he didn’t know any of the other campers when he arrived, but made “a lot “ of friends he’ll be keeping in touch with.
While taking aptitude tests and a sampling of classes, he learned he’s most interested in science and history. What he’ll remember most: “hanging out with all of my new friends.”
Monica Toun drove from Worcester, Mass., to Rochester with her family.
“It was a fantastic experience,” she said. “I can’t even describe how fantastic the experience was.”
Taking aptitude tests, she confirmed she’s a creative person, who may seek a career in social work or photography and art. Her favorite part of EYF: “Meeting people from all over the country.”