Deaf UTech graduate wants more interpreters in universities | Lead Stories

When Céline Le Pen began her studies at the University of Technology, Jamaica, in 2017, she was the only deaf person in her annual group at the College of Engineering and Computing.

Le Pen knew from the start that it would be a daunting task, but she wasn’t afraid.

When she was in third grade at Denby High School in Clarendon, she had completely lost her hearing after years of using hearing aids, so she had already experienced what it was like to be in a classroom and not be able to communicate.

talk with The Gleaner Through an interpreter at her graduation party on Friday, the 25-year-old said the barrier of communication often made her feel isolated.

“I felt lonely sometimes because I was the only deaf student in the whole class. I wanted to make connections, I wanted to connect with them, but it was hard because they were hearing and I was deaf,” said Le Pen.

Despite the challenge, Le Pen chose to focus on her dream of working in the computer science industry. It was a passion sparked by a teacher at the JAD May Pen deaf unit, to which she was transferred from Denbigh High School.

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One of her teachers inspired her to join UTech and made sure that she did well academically in order to get her matriculation.

I also attended Lister Mair/Gilby School for the Deaf in Kingston to pursue subjects that were not available in the JAD May Pen Unit for the Deaf.

Her academic performance was rewarded with a scholarship from the National Commercial Bank, which financed her university expenses.

For her father, retired police officer Yvonne Le Pen, the grant was the financial miracle he was praying for.

Since her education was taken care of, Yvonne said he made sure to support his daughter in any other ways she needed.

“At least four times a month, Mai Hafei checks in on her to make sure everything is OK, leave her outside, everything is medical. Mai has a relationship with the people at De University [if anything]He said.

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But Yvonne still had to find an interpreter for his daughter, which would cost him up to $2,500 an hour. But he said it was worth it.

“She’s clever, man,” declared the proud father, “and all now do not fail a class.”

Yvonne’s dedication to his daughter did not go unnoticed, says Le Pen The Gleaner It was the “foundation and foundation” that prompted her to complete her studies.

Le Pen said her degree — a Bachelor of Science in Computer Studies with a major in Information Systems — has paved the way for creating the life she’s always wanted.

“I am so happy. It means I can finally achieve the things I set out to do. I can get the kind of job I want to have,” said Le Pen, who is currently studying IT at her alma mater, Lester Mayer/Gilby School for the Deaf.

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“I am a person who has broken many barriers and so I would like to take my achievements, especially in this field, to influence other deaf people to show that they can achieve similar success,” she said.

Even as she celebrates this important achievement, she hopes that the next deaf student who decides to attend any university in Jamaica will not be the only one in the class and benefit from more interpreters.

“Right now, in Jamaica, you don’t have a lot of interpreters, so when you think of going to university, the first thing a student thinks of is ‘Who is going to translate for me?'” “And then they also think about the financial aspect of that, in terms of paying the interpreters, because in the case of a deaf person, if they can get that financial support for the interpreters, that would be really important.”

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