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Making a Difference (Silently)

Maggie Kelts is on a mission to change the lives of deaf people.
Advocate for the deaf community, Maggie Kelts (’24), signs “hello.”

Inspiration struck Kelts when she learned about the difficulties of deaf people living in a world designed for the hearing.

Planes, for example, direct their information to the hearing. Despite efforts during safety presentations to be cognisant of disabilities, things like in-flight announcements or concessions lack enough emphasis to be brought to the attention of deaf people.

Kelts also noted that things like evacuation alarms or storm warnings rely primarily on sound to catch people’s attention. This clearly creates another barrier for the deaf community.

Starting small

Kelts is designing a video presentation (through Girl Scouts) to teach basic sign language.

“I am basically making a video of myself signing what to say to a deaf person if they wanted to buy cookies at a meeting… that would teach the new series of Girl Scouts how to communicate with deaf people,” said Kelts.

She hopes to include a guest who is deaf so they can give their insight about the hardship of deafness.

Her video is aimed towards younger Girl Scouts, but Kelts wants it to reach a larger audience.

“I think right now I’m going to start with social media, then posting it around, then probably upload it to youtube.”

Next steps

Kelts’s pursuit for change goes beyond her video. She plans on minoring in ASL and majoring in criminal justice in college.

Why criminal justice?
Kelts plans to combine her passions of criminal law and ASL to pioneer a way to fill the gap between officers and those hard of hearing.

“I was thinking about becoming an officer that can communicate with deaf people to make a difference…there’s not many deaf interpreters for policemen. They [the officers] don’t really understand what it’s like to be deaf,” said Kelts.

Kelts also hopes to be part of a first responding team that aids in ASL interpretation.
“If there was a fire or something and the phone lines went down, how would the deaf people know they needed to evacuate?”

Kelts’s passion is unique, yet it’s an overlooked part of hearing accommodations in society.

Kelts is determined to bring awareness to this issue and make a difference in the lives of many.

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About the Contributor
Lila Emery
Lila Emery, Editor-in-Chief
Lila Emery is a senior at Broomfield, and the writing Editor-in-Chief for this year’s Eagle Way. This year her goal is to write quality stories and get into college. She has her sights set on the University of San Diego or UC Santa Cruz, but is undecided regarding an area of study. She is a proud member of the Best Buddies program at Broomfield, as well as NHS and Key Club. She also participates in track and runs hurdles with Mr. Hazzard. Outside of school she enjoys the outdoors, running, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

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    Tina HofmannDec 27, 2023 at 8:56 am

    What a great aspiration for Maggie and a thoughtful choice for an article.