Teacher of the Deaf
Class of 1999
By B.J. Song
Chanel Deponte is a 25-year-old woman who is deaf and graduated from Waiäkea High School in 1998. Her older sister and a younger brother can both hear. Her father works for the County of Hawaii in Hilo and her mother is a homemaker. She has several ethnic backgrounds which include Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, and English.
Chanel decided to attend Waiäkea High School along with her sister because she didn’t want go to an all deaf school on Oahu and be away from her family. Some of the difficulties she felt when coming to school here were feeling alone and difficulties with her English and history classes. She had to read a lot, learn new vocabulary words and write, all skills made easier if she were able to hear. Her easy classes were math and science because they are visual. She was supported by her Hawaiian teacher and sign language teacher, Kulani Namailoai. Rivera, and her sign language teacher, Amanda Ayoso.
Chanel is now majoring in Psychology at UH Hilo, and hopes to work and help kids in the future.