Access Creates Opportunity


CSD South Dakota worked with Mara and her family to get access to an interpreter for Mara’s classes. Her mother shared her observations with us below.


“A week ago, our hard-working, beautiful, awesome daughter, Mara, won a stack of academic awards including President’s Education Award, Academic Letter and top ACT scorer of the senior class (to name a few).  Academic honors weren’t really a thing of the past, despite having worked very hard.  Just ask Mara about listening fatigue. 
The reason for the recent success has to do with having access to an ASL interpreter in the classroom.  
Many of you may not know that Mara has spent hundreds of hours outside of the school day learning ASL, received private tutoring from a deaf math teacher, and has traveled thousands of miles to learn ASL and to be around other deaf teens.  All of this to have language and communication freedom. ASL learning and travel were not provided by the school or school funds. All of the language development and exposure has helped her to fully benefit academically at school.  
Mara is living proof that hard work alone is not a guarantee of academic success and achieving potential; rather,  a person needs the right access, tools and skills with the elbow grease. (Think: Amy Rowley’s battle).   
A special thank you to those who have encouraged and spent countless hours with Mara Land.  And a very special thank you to all the interpreters who tirelessly work to make sense of high school classrooms!  Also a special thanks to Mara’s two special friends, Katy Liester and Sarah Van Liere, who encourage each other to do the best, work hard. 
Great job, Mara!  You just improved the school’s academic profile and have proven the ROI of having an interpreter.  And, like professor Amy Rowley, you are an amazing overcomer and will continue to do great stuff.”

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