Author Archives: colinwhited

Solomon Enos’ Signing Hands: The Story of the Thomas Square Mural

Solomon Enos’ Signing Hands: The Story of the Thomas Square Mural by Colin Whited Commuting downtown Honolulu, many have noticed the mural of colorful, giant-sized hands adorning the wood barriers of the Thomas Square re-construction. Those passing by frequently asked: “What is this? What does it say?” It began when the Mayor’s Office approached Native Hawaiian artist Solomon Enos with the opportunity to do a mural at Thomas Square. Enos, already a staple in the local art scene, gladly accepted.

In the Spotlight – Trey Balding

In the Spotlight – Trey Balding by Colin Whited For Peter “Trey” Balding, overcoming odds through self-determination and close, family bonds has been regular a theme throughout his life. Trey was born Deaf. His parents, Peter and Mary – both Punahou alums – eventually enrolled him at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind. (As his grandfather is also named Peter, he is the third one; hence, “Trey.”) With his parents’ love and high expectations, Trey flourished. He graduated

The KOKUA Program: A Rich History of Serving Students with Disabilities

The KOKUA Program: A Rich History of Serving Students with Disabilities by Dr. Violet Horvath Photo: Ann Ito and Vanessa Ito Which of the following statements is true? a. The KOKUA Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa was established in 1966. b. The Rehabilitation Act to address equal access for persons with disabilities was enacted in 1973. c. The Americans with Disabilities Act guaranteeing equal access for those with disabilities went into effect in 1990. d. All of

Shared Reading Saturdays

Shared Reading Saturdays, hosted by the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind, are monthly events open to everyone. The program is geared toward increasing the literacy levels of deaf children while also teaching their hearing parents and caregivers to sign stories in American Sign Language. “Parents learn a new way to bond with their child – through reading. I’ve also been told that parents enjoy meeting other families, networking, [and] getting play groups together,” said Rosalind Kia, who helps

In the Spotlight – Linda Sykora & Ronald McBride

With their roots tracing back to the midwestern United States decades ago, Linda Sykora and Ronald McBride had little idea they would end up over 4,000 miles west, moving and shaking a small Deaf community the middle of the Pacific. Sykora grew up in Indiana, and worked in the nonprofit sector in Michigan before ending up in Hawaii. Originally from Michigan, McBride has called Hawaii home since the age of 17. He lived on each island before deciding Hawaii (Big)

Paving the Way for a Better Future

Photo: Joel Matusof Joel Matusof has 25 years of construction experience, but he didn’t start off with formal training. Born Deaf to Deaf parents, he grew up working with family and friends, observing and learning the trade. Now, he is motivated to start a community program that will give others the same learning experience. “I learned…construction knowledge with just two years of visual instruction,” he said. “Currently, Deaf students don’t have the same opportunity to receive visual instruction in construction-related

In the Spotlight – Peggy Liang

Photo: Peggy Liang Peggy Liang is no stranger when it comes to tackling challenges in the face of high expectations. After all, she became an NCAA Division I athlete despite being profoundly Deaf since birth. Now, with competitive athletics behind her, the swimming-star-turned-graduate-student reflects on her unprecedented athletic career as she works to pave a path that will allow her to serve her community – the Deaf community – for years to come. For Liang, the question that comes to

Hawaii Celebrates 25 Years of Deaf Santa

Photo: Caleb Kepo’o (right) watches as Deaf Santa (left) asks, “What do you want for Christmas?” in American Sign Language (ASL). On Thursday, December 9, 2016, more than 100 Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind (DHHDB) students from across Hawaii gathered at the Pearlridge Shopping Center to pay a visit to “Deaf Santa.” The event marked the 25th anniversary of the Deaf Santa program, which was created for students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade who are DHHDB. Participating schools included Keaau

Victory for Kuli808: Local Duo Wins Pacific Coast Deaf Bowling Association (PCDBA) Doubles Championship

Photo: (From left to right) Tim Estes, Pacific Coast Deaf Bowling Association (PCDBA) Acting President/Vice President; Edward Bazan, PCDBA Secretary/Treasurer; Vuong Ho, Team Kuli808; Bryce Takaki, Team Kuli808; and Eric Dela Pena, PCDBA Tournament Chairperson. On June 27-30, 2016, the Hawaii Silent Bowlers (HSB) hosted a tournament in Las Vegas, NV, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Pacific Coast Deaf Bowling Association (PCDBA). Among the highlights were two local boys – Vuong Ho and Bryce Takaki – who took

In the Spotlight – Vanessa Wozney

Photo: Vanessa Wozney (second from left) with her four children, (from left to right) Gabriel, Shane, Jasmyn, and Seth. Vanessa Wozney considers Kauai her home all her life, even though she was born on the mainland. Her father has lived on Kauai since she was born. Now a resident of Kauai for over 5 years, Wozney has made a quite a life for herself and her family. This wasn’t always the case. An ongoing challenge for Wozney was finding a

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