By ERIN KIM
A friendly face at school, part-time anchor on Univision, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) representative on ASB, Jovaneh Gutierrez (Sr.) seems to represent the DHH community at UHS. Although many students may know his face, few know his story and the facets of the DHH community he explores.
Although he did not grow out of his shell until after his freshman year, Gutierrez has served as an ASB DHH representative for two years and is currently an IMPACT mentor and president of both Close Up, which promotes participation of citizens in democracy, and Junior National Association of the Deaf (Jr. NAD). “My goal is to make deaf and hearing people come together more often and share their cultures,” said Gutierrez.
However, achieving such a mission is not an easy task. “The biggest struggle I face everyday is trying to share my ideas with hearing people. Sometimes it’s hard to get hearing people to pay attention to the deaf community and its needs,” said Gutierrez. However, he remains determined to push past this obstacle. In fact, one idea Gutierrez wishes to share suggests how UHS can improve the DHH program. “I think it would be really nice if Uni could set up some competitive sports for deaf students because sometimes they feel shy, scared, or nervous to be on a hearing team,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez was actually once hearing. At three years old he became deaf when he suffered from a high fever and his family could not afford medication. Despite his hearing loss, he kept an optimistic attitude: “When I became deaf, I still remembered what language sounded like… so I felt proud because I was able to function even though my hearing had gone away.”
Perhaps Gutierrez’s optimism is inspired by his mother. She has taught him the most important life lesson that he always keeps in mind: “It doesn’t matter how difficult things get and what challenges you have. You have to face them and think about your future.” As for his own future, Gutierrez considers pursuing a career in computer engineering or education, but ultimately dreams of becoming an actor.