High School Italian Club Sponsors Inspiring Visit
WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange High School Italian Club sponsored an inspiring visit for World Language students on March 27 from Andrea Turco, a successful graphic designer and advocate who was born deaf.
"The theme of Andrea's visit was "Language has no barriers," began Italian teacher Rosanna Zamloot.
"My goal was for not only the Italian Club members but all our World Languages club members to be inspired by Andrea's journey in life as a deaf person," she explained.
Turco was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at 13 months. She received special education and training at Summit Speech School and Brookdale Elementary, attended Mountain Lakes High School, and attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. Following college, she received a cochlear implant which allows her to hear the "shhhh" sound.
Making Turco unique and inspiring was her positive attitude about life and refusing to allow the limitations of being deaf prevent her from new experiences and challenges.
"The message that Andrea gave to the students was to follow their dreams and never to think that something is impossible to achieve," continued Zamloot.
"Andrea told us that during her life she made the impossible possible. "She learned a new language at 10, played softball and basketball, was a cheerleader, twirled, and took gymnastics and dance. She was a Resident Advisor at RIT, and traveled to several countries," she stated.
In fact, her academic and athletic honors earned Turco the Tony Danza Second Wind Scholarship Award from the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, and in 1997, she won the Miss Deaf New Jersey Pageant. Andrea’s platform as Miss Deaf New Jersey encouraged parents to involve their deaf children in a wide array of activities to help shape their future.
Turco showed students that TPR (Total Physical Response) is very important in communication not only in the deaf community, but also in the world languages and ESL. She demonstrated various words in American Sign Language and Italian Sign Language.
"Several students loved the positive message of the presentation and spent time with Andrea to show them more sign language. Wendy, a junior, was so inspired by Andrea's speech that she felt inspired to follow her dreams," Zamloot concluded.
Turco now works for SPAN, an advocacy organization that provides assistance to families with deaf children.
See the photos here.
Principal Hayden Moore, World Languages Supervisor Felix Plata, and Italian teacher Mrs. Amabile (left), with WL students, and Andrea Turco and Italian teacher Rosanna Zamloot (center).