Part of the Community
Published: February 14, 2013
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A group of children from the Abingtons' newest school will participate in this year's Clarks Summit Festival of Ice parade on a larger scale thanks to the help of an interpreter.
The Scranton School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children has been part of the Abingtons community since it moved in to the former Lourdesmont complex on Venard Road in South Abington Twp. in 2011. Last year, the school's students participated in the annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice parade for the first time and this year the school is inviting not just the school's students to participate but also the students of its weekly American Sign Language classes to join in on the fun.
"The Scranton School is very committed to being a contributing member of the Abington community," said assistant principal Mary Ann Stefko, who coordinates the sign language classes. "The community has also been supportive of us and this is just another opportunity to partner with them."
"Everyone who walks with us will speak and sign to the best of their ability," Stefko said. "The students loved our participation last year and were eager to participate again. The coordinators were fantastic to us, too. We enjoy signing to folks who are watching the parade who know American Sign Language."
Ellen Yuscavage, a member of the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice committee, explained that having the students participate in the parade was important to everyone involved.
"The school participated last year and it was phenomenal," she said. "I am also an advocate for them because my sister, stepsister and nephew are all deaf."
The Festival of Ice parade will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Clarks Summit Elementary Schoo, 401 W. Grove St., and continue through State Street to the Clarks Summit Borough Building. Stefko explained that parade organizers obtained the use of an interpreter, Kristy Dumback, for the students so that they could participate in both the parade and the annual "Family Fun Faire," which begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Clarks Summit Borough Building, 304 S. State St. The "Family Fun Faire" includes free activities for children, including face painting, story time and crafts. Following the parade, there will be additional activities, including a juggling performance by Rob Smith and laughter yoga with Jeannine Luby.
"I think the festival's children's events are a great thing for families because their kids can be a part of the activities," Yuscavage said. "It is a great way to spend Valentine's Day with your family."
Stefko feels that the school's participation in events like the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice can only enhance its rapport with the community at large.
"We are excited to have the opportunity to participate in local events," she said. "By participating in community events, our students develop a connection to the community and the community learns about all of the exciting things that happen at our school. It is a win-win for everyone."