Gardner-Webb Hosts Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students from Cleveland County (N.C.) Schools

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Laney Haskin, 11, signs with Santa at Gardner-Webb University on Thursday. Hearing impaired children were invited to campus for a field day filled with tours and Christmas fun. [Photo courtesy of Brittany Randolph/The Shelby Star]
Laney Haskin, 11, signs with Santa at Gardner-Webb University on Thursday. Hearing impaired children were invited to campus for a field day filled with tours and Christmas fun. [Photo courtesy of Brittany Randolph/The Shelby Star]
‘Christmas B.A.S.H.’ Introduces Students to College Opportunities

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A group of 14 deaf and hard of hearing students from Cleveland County (N.C.) Schools—ranging in age from 4 years to teens—visited Gardner-Webb University recently for a preview of college life. Hosted by the Noel Center for Disability Resources, the event was called “Christmas B.A.S.H.—Bringing Academic Scholarship Here.” 

Susan Randolph, GWU interpreter and captioning provider, was contacted about hosting the event by Josh Trivett, a teacher for the Deaf in the school system. 

“We had talked about getting the deaf children together in one place so they could see each other,” Randolph shared. “Because they are in different schools, they don’t have a lot of contact with each other. When they spend time together, they realize they are not the only ones.” 

Cheryl Potter, associate dean, and Cindy Rochester, assistant dean of Noel Center, supported the project and helped with the details. Randolph wanted the day to include both educational and fun elements. She enlisted the help of Dr. Tom Jones, professor of biology, to provide science activities, and Doug Knotts, professor of art and chair of the Department of Visual Arts, to demonstrate pottery making.  

Katie Linker, a GWU student who is deaf, showed the group how her dorm room is equipped with lights that flash when the doorbell rings or in case the fire alarm goes off. She shared with the group that college is an attainable goal for young people who are deaf or hard of hearing.  

Members of Joyful Hands, Gardner-Webb University’s Sign Language Choir, also performed. At lunchtime, Bob Moore and Russ Gribble, GWU American Sign Language instructors, talked with the group, and Santa Claus dropped by with gifts of GWU swag provided by the GWU admissions office. “All of the students who visited were excited,” Randolph observed. “I appreciate everyone who supported the effort. 

Learn more about the Noel Center for Disability Resources.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.