On March 15, University High School (UHS) hosted speaker Derrick Coleman, fullback football player of the 2014 Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks. He spoke to families from Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) programs throughout Orange County about his career as a professional athlete and personal challenges with hearing impairment.
Before Coleman’s speech, approximately 500 students from five DHH programs across Orange County arrived and were seated at University High School gym. Mr. Jon Levy (DHH Principal) said, “Coleman is very inspirational in the way he talks. He is a great role model that reminds us never to give up. He did an amazing job. Derrick also does not sign, but instead uses his voice.”
Throughout 2013-2014, the UHS DHH program has organized and hosted similar large gatherings at which speakers have presented. Mr. Levy said, “DHH is a big community. It was very hard to get Mr. Coleman to come visit UHS since so many other people wanted him to visit other schools.” The UHS DHH program advertised the event by sending flyers to DHH schools throughout the county and designated the event as invitation-only to prevent overcrowding the gym.
When asked about UHS DHH program’s plans for future gatherings of its OCC community, Mr. Levy said, “We hope to have more speakers to come. We also hope to use the theater to establish a center for all the people to fit.”
Derrick Coleman attended Troy High School where he first qualified for the school football team and developed a passion for football. After high school, he attended and played for the University of California, Los Angeles football team. With resulting popularity from his advertisement for the Duracell Company, Coleman was then drafted onto the Seattle Seahawks. He speaks to local DHH communities about his career and shares his motto “Don’t get ready, but be ready.” When asked about his experience watching Coleman present his story, DHS ASB Student Representative Jovaneh Gutierrez (Jr.) said, “We were inspired and moved by the way Derrick spoke about his life. He is a true hero who makes us think about our future. We also hope that there will be more speakers like Derrick.”
Written by AAKASH KAPOOR