Q3 Benchmark - Deaf Evolution


In the third year of the Civil War, there isn’t much to look forward to. In a time of distress, nothing seems possible, but yesterday was something different. April 8th, 1864 President Abraham Lincoln approved the Columbia Institution college status. This action, although unnecessary, made the Columbia Institution the first college for the deaf. Many people look down upon the deaf and think that they are dumb. However, many can not say this because of the fact that Edward M. Gallaudet is allowed to award degrees to his students. This shows that the deaf community is to be respected in a huge way, considering that Abraham Lincoln signed the bill.

Edward Miner Gallaudet didn’t always want to be the president of the Columbia University (later called Gallaudet University, in honor of E. M. Gallaudet’s father Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet). In fact, he wanted to be a banker. His father encouraged him to become a teacher of the deaf, but still lead Edward in the right direction. After his father died, a man named Amos Kendall told Edward about an opening as a superintendent of a school. He took it and became very successful. After that, Edward was looked at as having an altruistic soul; a colleague once said, “Several times when Dr. Gallaudet wanted appropriations, while I very much desired his success, I felt that he had undertaken more than could be accomplished; but somehow, under the influence of that earnest zeal, that even temperament, and the strong arguments which have always characterized his efforts, before the close of the session he would get practically what he desired.” Edward Gallaudet does everything in his power to make his college the best it can be to his staff and his students. He is a selfless person that wants to improve the community and the standards of the deaf.

Edward’s story goes back before he was born. His interest with the deaf started long ago as well. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet saw a little child standing in a playground. He wonderd why she wasn’t doing anything. He went over to her, and noticed that she couldn’t hear. He began to gesture to her. That little girl’s name was Alice Cogswell. Thomas helped her learn new things. He was later approached by a man named Laurent Clerc who was from France who taught Thomas a new form of Sign Language to teach. They established a new school and it attracted a lot of students of many different varieties and backgrounds. This was the beginning of a new era of Sign Language.


Sign Language was not always here. Sign Language was not always popular. Sign Language was not always used. But, it’s different now. From France we have a whole different language. It’s helped so many people learn to communicate their ideas through so many different outlets such as schools, jobs, and other things.

    Laurent Clerc was the best student in the Institution Nationale des Sourds-Muets, and he was taught by Abbe Sicard. With Thomas Hopkins Galluadet, he co-founded the first school for the deaf in North America. Since then, sign language has really taken off. In Martha’s Vineyard, which is an island off the coast of Massachusetts, has one of the most famous population of deaf people. Through inbreeding and a genetic mutation deafness became present and was around for over 250 years.
    Sign Language is continued to be thought of as a universal language, when its not. Though people all over the world sign, there is no one language for all the deaf. In Brittan, there is British Sign Language, in Australia, there is Australian Sign Language. Even though signing is worldwide, there are different variations of the language.
    Because of Laurent Clerc and the doings of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, there wouldn’t be a standing for the deaf in America. Right now Gallaudet is the only deaf college in the world, and it’s home to many of the deaf population who want to go out and make something of themselves. Gallaudet University would not be here if it wasn’t for the collaboration of Laurent Clerc and Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, in addition to his son, Edward Miner Galludet.


    It’s 1972, and accomplishments for the deaf are sort of unheard of. However, yesterday, a huge event happened for the deaf community and those who are hard of hearing. The first television show that now has closed captioning is The French Chef on PBS. This is a monumental achievement for the deaf community. Other shows that have these features Zoom, Once Upon a Classic, and ABC World News Tonight.
    Deaf are now flocking to the stores to buy their new decoders to transmit the closed captioning onto their televisions. Due to this surge in appliances, the companies who provided the decoders did not want to sell more, until more people bought them. But the people did not want to buy them until there were more closed captioned shows. It’s a chicken and the egg situation.
    Although the deaf liked the closed captioning, they wanted more programs to have this amenity for them. Later, though the companies who provided closed captioning gave more shows that had the captions on screen.
    The deaf were pleased about the fact that they could access more shows that had closed caption. There wasn’t anyone who was against this, since a lot of people can benefit from words being on screen. Not only did the deaf benefit but people who didn’t know English could learn how to speak it/read it. It’s an amazing accomplishment and it’s going to be around for a long time.

Comments (10)

Terrance Oliveri-Wiliams (Student 2013)
Terrance Oliveri-Wiliams

I've always wondered what the difference was between closed captioning and the hearing impaired thing. I think you could have went into a little more detail about it because, to me, it feels like the most present, modern part of being deaf in society. It isnt on every program that airs, but some deaf people may enjoy watching television. My only question is why arent subtitles on every television program. The information in the article was good, but I feel like it was more historic information than article.

Rebecca Rainis (Student 2013)
Rebecca Rainis

This project was great. You presented a good amount of information and explained it thoroughly. My only negative-ish comment is that you should watch what tense you're typing in. Sometimes it got confusing to tell whether you were speaking from present-day or a different time in the past. I'm also wondering how you're going to present your project? Other than that, excellent job!

Matthew Walker (Student 2013)
Matthew Walker

This information has really helped me understand a lot more about the deaf community. I also like the little stories you have in there, that really keeps my intrest.

Annisa Ahmed (Student 2013)
Annisa Ahmed

Yo, this is charming. Sure, a couple visuals would have been nice to see, however the actual content that the articles makes up for it. Both well-written and informative, I must say I'm somewhat blow away. I really liked how you added in the dates instead of stating them at the top of each article (bonus points). The revolution is also clear, and the change in the deaf world resides still… So good.

Chelsea Smith (Student 2013)
Chelsea Smith

I really like your project and all you have to say about the deaf community and sign language. I also agree with Becca if you could find a cool way to present this then you will be sure to get in the finals. Your project touches base on something that people know about but don't act about, if that make sense to you.

Pauline Garcia (Student 2013)
Pauline Garcia

Just like everyone said, this is really informative! I didn't even know that there's a college for the deaf! I learned something new! Thanks Catherine :) I also want to learn sign language!

Joseph Wood (Student 2013)
Joseph Wood

I think that overall the writing and the information in the project are really good and you really help us learn about how the first college for deafs was made but I am just wondering how are you going to present this if you do enter the nhd

Christian Gelbolingo (Student 2013)
Christian Gelbolingo

The articles were very informative and helped me understand the stuggles of the deaf and how throughout the year, the deaf community improved. However, when reading the articles, dates would have been useful. When you edit this for the Q3 Benchmark, make sure that you have the time that it was "written." Ps. I'm really interested in learning sign language.

Rebecca Fenton (Student 2013)
Rebecca Fenton

I LOVED your project, it was actually my favorite. I think that it was so interesting all of the facts about how the first college was made because he saw a little deaf girl at the playground, those kinds of facts DRAW people in and make them interested. I think that if you find out a cool way to present this then you can be in the finals! :)

Longnu Nhan (Student 2013)
Longnu Nhan

I think that sign language is an amazing thing. I find it amazing how people find a way to do what it takes to communicate with each other. I really liked how you open your articles. It seems like there was no hope but as I kept on reading, there was hope. Great job [: