Western PA School for the Deaf Celebrates 150 Years

Posted by Jesse Barkey on Oct 28, 2019 in News
Nick Coming, left, and Katrina Smith, right, with deaf advocate and celebrity competitor on “Dancing With The Stars” and “America’s Next Top Model” Nyle DiMarco.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette)

#CheersTo150Years: To celebrate such a milestone, the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf threw quite a party on Saturday night at the Westin Hotel and Convention Center, Downtown, for more than 670 guests. Partygoers toasted to the occasion and helped raise funds with the silent auction that included more than 160 items such as a unique chessboard that featured American Sign Language hand-shaped pieces created on the school’s 3-D printer. Also available were many works of beautiful art, including paintings by a WPSD graduate and a WPSD retiree and a Pittsburgh-themed quilt made by a WPSD retiree. Guests reveled in HandVibes — an all-student ASL performance group that wowed the audience with three songs during the night. “The Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf  started with just one student wanting an education and a teacher willing to be innovative, not intimidated by a challenge and ready to invest in that young life. It is that same spirit that has fueled our mission, empowered our staff and focuses on every student who comes into our school buildings. WPSD has had an amazing journey through the years,” said WPSD CEO Steven Farmer. More than $100,000 was raised to support WPSD, a nonprofit, tuition-free school with high academic expectations. Founded in 1869, WPSD provides educational services and a complete extracurricular program to deaf and hard-of-hearing children from birth through grade 12. WPSD is the largest comprehensive center for deaf education in Pennsylvania.

From left: Fred Griffin, Johnny Carr, Cathie Were, Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf CEO Steven Farmer and Heather Farmer.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette)

#SEEN: Deaf advocate and celebrity competitor on “Dancing With The Stars” and “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Nyle DiMarco, WPSD Board chair Harold Mewl, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, Pennsylvania Sen. Jay Costa, Pennsylvania Rep. Summer Lee, Greg and Kayla Neri, Cathy and Don Rhoten, Angel and Robert Maher, Diana and Joel Grover, Barbara and Mark Kite, Katrina and Nick Coming, Fred Griffin, Johnny Carr, Cathie Were, Heather Farmer, Laurel and Christian Echavarria, Andrea Echavarria, Fran and Tim Flaherty, Michelle Cline, Jo DiGiovanni, and Susan Demers-McLetchie, Harvey Corson, Bert Carter, and Donald Galloway.

From left, WPSD board chairman Harold Mewl, Harvey Corson, Bert Carter and Donald Galloway.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette)
Former Fire Chief of South Huntingdon Mark Kite and Barbara Kite.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette)
Greg and Kayla Neri.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette
Cathy and Don Rhoten.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette
Robert and Angel Maher. (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette
Diana and Joel Grover. (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette)
From left, Christian and Laurel Echavarria, Andrea Echavarria with Fran and Tim Flaherty.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette)
From left: Michelle Cline, Jo DiGiovanni and Susan Demers-McLetchie.  (Christian Snyder/Post-Gazette)

This articles published by Pittsburgh Post Gazette on October 28, 2019 by Natalie Bencivenga

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