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Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission hosts Deaf Fingerspelling Bee

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[April 21, 2008]  SPRINGFIELD -- On Friday, the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission will host the annual Statewide Deaf Fingerspelling Bee. This event will be at Brookens Auditorium on the campus of the University of Illinois-Springfield. Registration is from 9:30 to 9:45 a.m., the program will begin at 10 a.m., and completion is expected to be around noon.

The Statewide Deaf Fingerspelling Bee is patterned after the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee, but modified for deaf students. Sign language will be the method of communication during all aspects of the event. The competition is part of a continuing effort to enable deaf students to participate in education activities similar to those of their hearing peers.

Participants involved in this event are intermediate deaf students from Illinois schools with deaf programs and will include two different groups. Group A will consist of students who are currently at the fifth- and sixth-grade level. Group B will consist of students who are currently at the seventh- and eighth-grade level.

The first-, second-, third-place and alternate finalists from each school's local area competition advance to the Statewide Deaf Fingerspelling Bee.

During the competition, the announcer will say the word, the school's presenter will say and sign the word to the student, and the student will then repeat and sign the word, before fingerspelling it. Upon missing the spelling of a word, the contestant immediately drops out of the contest. During the final round, when one of the last two students competing fingerspells a word incorrectly, the other student must then fingerspell the same word correctly, as well as the next word presented. This student is then declared the champion.

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Ms. Louanner Peters, deputy governor of Illinois, will present the awards to the students.

The judges for this competition are:

  • Benro Ogunyipe, accessibility and safety specialist with the Department of Human Services.

  • Kate Kubey, program director of the Substance Abuse & AIDS Prevention Program for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing for the Chicago Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities.

  • Ryan Croke, policy adviser, lieutenant governor's office.

The timekeeper is Katie Moore, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her major is in rhetoric and creative writing, with a minor in English.

Sponsors assisting for this year's event are the Illinois Telecommunications Access Corp., the Chicago's Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, Sertoma, Sprint, Communication Services Video Relay Services and the Illinois Association of the Deaf.

For more information, contact Mary O'Brian, program coordinator, Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, at 1630 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62703; phone toll-free at 877-455-3323 V/TTY; or e-mail mary.o'

[Text from Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


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