ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Deaf Awareness Day at Flagler College brought dozens of people together Tuesday, whether they could hear or not.
Flagler College senior Madison Rynne, who is also the president of the Deaf Awareness Club, said the event aims to dispel misconceptions about the deaf community.
“Especially being in this rich, thriving, cultured area, I think it's something everybody should know and be around and be exposed to,” said Rynne.
With the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind nearby, St. Augustine is home to a large population of people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
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Margaret Finnigan, coordinator for the college's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, said there’s a huge need for deaf education professionals.
“We really do believe that deaf people need to preserve their language,” said Finnigan.
This fall, Flagler College will start a new master’s program for deaf education. It’ll be the only program of its kind in Northeast Florida.
“Having a small college where we can offer that for our students is really important. Last year we had a huge dearth of teachers for the deaf in the Florida area,” said Finnigan.
Finnigan hopes the new degree will help change that and increase the number of deaf professionals in Florida.
The master’s program will be offered online. Flagler College is currently taking applications.
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