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American School for the Deaf Celebrates 207th Commencement

ASD Executive Director Jeff Bravin with the Class of 2024. Submitted photo by Defining Studios

American School for the Deaf celebrated its graduate on June 10, 2024, on the West Hartford campus.


The American School for the Deaf (ASD) held its 207th Commencement ceremony on the evening of Monday, June 10, 2024. Graduates, along with families, friends, teachers, staff, and other supporters, gathered to celebrate the Class of 2024’s achievements.

This class of 16 proved to be quite diverse, with a wide range of talents and interests. As board president Jon Rubin noted in his Board Welcome, “the Class of 2024 are celebrated artists, STEAM champions, master chefs, aspiring actors, dedicated students, and great friends” and their achievements were no accident, but “the result of determination, hard work, perseverance, and most importantly – the faith in yourself to be all ways able.”

He went on to point out that this year’s graduating class started high school in the fall of 2020, when most of the world was still shut down and students were feeling uncertainty about their futures. Rubin emphasized that this group of graduates came through that period with resolve and strength that will serve them throughout their lives.

After the Board Welcome, Executive Director Jeff Bravin gave his remarks, also bringing up the challenges faced by this class due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this uneasy beginning to their high school careers, the Class of 2024 secured some very noteworthy achievements.

Bravin listed some of these impressive accomplishments such as placing in national and international competitions like VEX robotics, SeaPerch ROV, culinary arts, and the Marie Jean Philip Competition. They even represented ASD and the broader Deaf Community at the United States Capitol, where they advocated for their rights among federal legislators.

Next were messages from two graduates – the Student Welcome delivered by Jayx D., followed by Nathaniel R.’s Student Address. Jayx urged peers to chase their dreams, and “always aim for success.” Jayx also reiterated the resilience of this class mentioned by Jon Rubin and Jeff Bravin, ending with this reminder, “We are STRONG!”

Nathaniel touched on his sometimes-challenging educational path, that eventually led him to ASD, and how he now proudly identifies as a deaf person. This educational path is particularly significant because, as the son of immigrants, he is not only a first-generation American, but also the first deaf person in his entire family. Of his time at ASD, Nathaniel remarked, “Thanks to your unwavering support, I am now confident in pursuing my goals of attending Gallaudet University as a college student.”

The Commencement Address was given by ASD alumna and ASD Board Corporator, Alexandra McGee. The class of 1973 graduate recounted some of her experiences at ASD and beyond. She also shared in the night’s theme of perseverance and encouraged the Class of 2024 to “never give up!”

The ceremony continued with the awarding of the Monte Scholarship to Nathaniel R. This scholarship was established thanks to the generosity of ASD graduate Althea Monte (class of 1929) to help college-bound ASD seniors meet the financial challenges of college. That was followed by the presentation of diplomas, and the Executive Director’s Award, of which Nathaniel R. was also the recipient.

The evening ended with the procession of the new graduates, undoubtedly inspired by class of ’24 peer Priscilla H., who was quoted by Jeff Bravin in his earlier remarks: “You can’t wait for life to come to you – you have to go get it.”

ASD Class of 2024: Sheikeb A. (Worcester, MA); Jayx D. (Bridgeport, CT); Yeriel G. (Hartford, CT); Shania G. (New York, NY); Priscilla H. (Staten Island, NY); Travis M. (Barnegat, NJ); Dominic N. (Wappingers Falls, NY); Devin N. (Danbury, CT); Isaalys R M. (New Haven, CT); Chinikol R M. (Springfield, MA); Nathaniel R. (Bristol, CT); Shaneliea S. (East Hartford, CT); Nadia S. (Tyngsborough, MA); Sandrine U. (Bridgeport, CT); Kimberly V. (Brooklyn, NY); and Devonne W. (Hartford, CT).

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