LAURENS COUNTY, Ga. — Students at one Central Georgia school are going above and beyond to make sure one of their classmates feels included. Serenity Thomas was born deaf in 2010. That’s why she never knew the names of any of her classmates until a simple donation of a dictionary changed that.
Imagine going through life not being able to hear or understand what is going on around you. That is the reality for Serenity Thomas and with most of her friends not knowing how to sign.
She knows their faces and she knew some of their names, but if she hadn’t had an immediate class with them, she did not necessarily know what their first name was or what their last name was — ‘That girl, I know her, she was in PE,’ but she didn’t know that girl’s name,” sign language interpreter for deaf and hard of hearing students Miranda Daidone said.
That is until the Rotary Club of Dublin made a very special donation that resulted in them getting a “thank you” letter.
“I wanted to thank you for the dictionaries my class got. They had to sign language ABCs in it. My friends learned how to spell their names. This let people learn how I talk,” President of the Rotary Club Jack Walker said, reading Serenity’s letter. Walker didn’t know this simple gesture would mean so much to Serenity.
“It gave her this pride that all of these kids were doing this, they wanted to be able to communicate with their friend,” Walker said.
“To see how excited she got, I mean, it really did bring tears to my eyes because she was like, ‘Oh, I know her, I’ve known her,'” Daidone said.
Serenity’s friend Maliyah Pickett knows how much joy this brought her.
“I think it made her feel happy,” Pickett said. Sign language interpreter Miranda Daidone says Serenity’s friends gave her something we all want.
“It gives her community, and for anybody to take interest in it, she is like a light bulb when somebody tries to sign something she just brightens up,” Daidone said.
The Rotary Club of Dublin donated 400 dictionaries to schools across Laurens County. At East Laurens Elementary students in Serenity’s class are continuing to learn sign language so they can communicate with her.