By ERIN KIM
The DHH community is filled with passionate and involved individuals who have extraordinary bonds with their fellow classmates and family members. Yennyfer Ordunez (Sr.) has a remarkable connection with her older sister, who is also deaf. Ordunez commented on their special relationship, “she has helped through so many experiences and she’s always there for me.” The support and solace she receives from her sister has helped Ordunez to embrace her deafness and take pride in being part of the DHH community.
Although Ordunez values deaf culture and its significance in her life, she admits the deaf experience certainly comes with its own challenges. In times of struggle, Ordunez reminds herself, “it’s very important to face fears and overcome obstacles. I can’t run away from my fears forever so I have to become strong no matter how many times I fail.” She takes her own advice especially when learning to read lips and communicating with hearing people.
As far as involvement at UHS, Ordunez plays softball and is on the DHH cheer team. In addition, she is a member of Junior National Association of the Deaf (Jr. NAD) and Close Up, two of the most prominent clubs in the DHH program. These groups have all helped Ordunez develop crucial real-world skills, but softball has had the greatest impact on Ordunez. Playing on a team with both hearing and deaf students has allowed her to practice communication skills and instilled her with an appreciation for teamwork. She is pleased with her softball team’s achievements last season, and noted, “we built really good teamwork and helped each other to win at games.”
Ordunez has seen the DHH program undergo several changes during her time at UHS, but feels that there is still room for improvement. One suggestion she has calls for a stronger American Sign Language (ASL) program for students who wish to expand their signing knowledge. In addition, she feels that UHS can encourage deaf students to attend hearing events and activities. “That way, deaf kids can teach hearing people to sign,” said Ordunez.
Next year, Ordunez hopes to attend Golden West College and major in nursing to one day fulfill her passion for helping others. She hopes to work particularly with deaf patients and newborns.