I now feel confident about my ability to help visually impaired children. I know the techniques to guide them toward a successful life.
— Sherry, VA
On October 18, The Hadley School for the Blind presented awards to seven students at the school's Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees at the Skokie Country Club in Glencoe. Each year, Hadley instructors and faculty choose seven students to honor for their outstanding achievement in their studies. Hadley has formally presented student awards for more than 50 years.
Geraldine Lawhorn, 95, has received the 2012 President's Award for her work and leadership on behalf of individuals who are blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind. A Hadley instructor for 45 years, Jerrie currently teaches "Elements of Poetry." She was honored in 2011 as "Winnetka Educator of the Year" by the Winnetka-Northfield Chamber of Commerce.
Jerrie, who by age 19 had lost her sight and hearing, was the first African-American deaf-blind individual to earn a college degree, receiving a bachelor's from Northeastern Illinois University in 1983. An accomplished actor, poet and pianist, she has performed at Carnegie Hall, made numerous television appearances and received many awards and honors, including the Richard J. Daley Citizen of the Year Award from IL Lions District 1-A. She has served as treasurer of LeCOBDA, the Club of Blind-Deaf Adults in Chicago, and was appointed by former Governor James Thompson to serve on the Illinois Advisory Board for Services for Persons Who are Deaf-Blind.
Jerrie's autobiography, "On Different Roads," was published in 1991.
Henry served in the United States Army and Air Force for 23 years, retiring as staff sergeant. He has worked in electronics, as a woodworker and photographer. In 2004, he suffered a stroke that led to the loss of one of his kidneys and his vision.
Henry learned about Hadley through a low-vision specialist at Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center. He has taken history, English and math courses, among others. He credits Hadley's "Using Excel" and "Economics" courses with helping him better manage his money and be a smart shopper.
Henry enjoys writing, working with the computer and household projects, including gardening. He also volunteers at the dialysis center where he was treated before receiving a kidney transplant in 2008.
Padmaja, a lifelong volunteer, was inspired to begin a career in vision rehabilitation after she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. Her goal is to help others who face the same challenges she has experienced with her own vision loss. She has taken several of Hadley's Professional Studies courses. Her favorite, "Learning Through Play," taught her strategies for helping parents and caregivers understand the needs of children who are visually impaired.
Padmaja says Hadley's user-friendly courses have helped her structure her experiential learning and put it into practice. She also credits her Hadley experience with improving her confidence. She feels more secure in her orientation and mobility skills and often ventures out alone, something she has felt apprehensive about doing in the past.
In her free time, Padmaja enjoys gardening, cooking, music and movies.
Darrin lost most of his vision to rod dystrophy with cone sparing, a form of retinitis pigmentosa. He also has been diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy, a genetic, metabolic disease that affects the energy production of cells in the body.
After a few failed attempts, Darrin's determination to learn braille was rewarded after enrolling with Hadley. He has completed all four of Hadley's braille literacy courses. As president of a statewide American Council of the Blind affiliate, he uses his braille skills to keep notes, organize files and correspond with members.
Darrin spent his career building distance learning programs, designing and evaluating curriculum, designing multi-media programs and teaching. He is now retired and enjoys music, reading and exploring museums. He lives with his wife, Stephanie; two children, Larissa and Dustin; and cats Abby and Sally.
When Gail learned that her son, Liam, born premature, would be visually impaired, she turned to Hadley for support and information. Having begun her career teaching early French immersion, Gail was inspired by Liam to earn her master's in special education. She now teaches students who are visually impaired at her local school district and is working toward becoming a certified braille transcriber.
"As a parent, I want Liam to know that there are no limitations," she says. "With the right attitude, drive and determination, he can do anything he wants to do. Hadley courses have allowed me to better understand what I need to know so that I can best guide him on his way."
Gail enjoys attending the extracurricular activities of her three boys and has an interest in music.
When Sylvia was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, she was devastated. Hadley's "Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness" course helped her cope with her vision loss. As a vision rehabilitation specialist and executive director of the Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind in Port Richey, Florida, Sylvia has utilized Hadley courses and Seminars@Hadley to enhance her skills and maintain her credentials. She has also introduced her staff and her clients to Hadley.
Sylvia recently participated in Hadley's Ambassador Training, which educates those who work in the blindness field in "all things Hadley" so that they may better enable their clients to utilize Hadley's distance education courses. Hadley Ambassadors represent the school in their various communities, spread the word about the school and help recruit new students.
Sylvia enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family.
Debra lost some of her hearing at age 5, and glaucoma has left her legally blind. She heard about Hadley through CNIB. Over the past three years, she has taken several courses. Her favorites include "Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness," "Safety in the Home" and "The Human Eye." Debra has utilized the skills she learned in Hadley's "Using Excel" course in her job at Trail Public Library.
Debra's hobbies include walking, photography and reading. She has participated in the National Camps for the Blind run by the Christian Record Service every summer for the past 35 years.
As a child, Paula attended the Louisiana State School for the Visually Impaired. Her visual impairment and other challenges prevented her from completing high school. This past spring, she earned her high school diploma through Hadley.
Of the many Hadley courses Paula has taken, her favorite subjects include health and abacus. As a busy mom who raised three children and now enjoys helping out with her four grandchildren, she appreciates being able to study at her own pace and her Hadley instructors, whom she found to be patient, compassionate and always willing to provide extra help.
Paula enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the Internet.