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Stories From Main Street: White Plains, NY

WHITE PLAINS, NY (WCBS 880) - They speak with their hands, but the message comes from the heart, and they want it heard loud and clear in Albany.

WCBS 880's Sean Adams reports


The only voice you will hear is that of a sign language interpreter.

The New York School for the Deaf in White Plains is nearly 200-years-old. Founded in 1817, it is the second oldest institution of its kind in the country.

LINK: New York School for the Deaf (Official Site)

The first thing you notice at the institution, also known as Fanwood, is that everyone seems to be smiling.

Executive director Janet Dickinson is gravely concerned about the proposed state budget, which would shift the funding responsibility from the state to local school districts.

"This is a huge, huge risk that's being presented," says Dickinson. "I think the school districts will feel torn. We have so many school districts who send their children here and know the value of this school for their children, but at the same time, if there is no money in the budget, there is no money in the budget then... Some would not be able to send their children here."

Stories from Main Street
Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

RELATED: More Stories from Main Street

Students understand the state is in a fiscal pickle. They just want the chance to let the governor and lawmakers know what this school means to them.

"It's a wonderful, amazing place and it has changed me so dramatically in just two years," says 19-year-old Kaleb Moran. "I understand the teachers better, compared to where I was in the public schools. I had such a hard time. I couldn't participate. I couldn't be a leader there, but here, at this school, I can be involved and a leader."

"At the School for the Deaf, it's really the best for me. I can do everything. It's just the best," says 15-year-old Juan Sosa. "I enjoy my work in the classroom the most and sports, might I add, and socializing with my deaf friends."

"Going to public school, I feel like people see me as limited, but then when you come to a school for the deaf you feel equal," says 15-year-old Tatiana Carvahall. "I feel, here, that my future is unlimited."

"Yes. I want to tell the governor to keep our schools, keep them running, and make that investment," says 16-year-old Kayla Deegan say. "I feel like this is my second home."

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