[Layout Image: No Content]
Gallaudet Univeristy
Decorative Graphic: No content.
Home > Clerc Center > KDES students honor Laurent Clerc

KDES students honor Laurent Clerc

Image: A student presented a poem before a panel of judges as part of the Marie Jean Philip ASL Poetry, Storytelling and Deaf Art Competition held at KDES on Clerc Day, December 8, 2011. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

A student presented a poem before a panel of judges as part of the Marie Jean Philip ASL Poetry, Storytelling and Deaf Art Competition held at KDES on Clerc Day, December 8, 2011. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

Image: A student checked the time clock on the judge's table before beginning his art presentation in the competition. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

A student checked the time clock on the judge's table before beginning his art presentation in the competition. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

Image: A student created an ASL expression mask from clay to mirror the expression in his photograph as part of the activities on Clerc Day. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

A student created an ASL expression mask from clay to mirror the expression in his photograph as part of the activities on Clerc Day. (Photo: Susan Flanigan)

Louis Laurent Marie Clerc, known as Laurent Clerc, was born in France on December 26, 1785. Having lost his hearing at an early age, Clerc was working as a teacher of deaf children in Paris when he met Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, a young reverend from the United States who was interested in starting a school for deaf children in America. In 1817, the two men co-founded the American School for the Deaf, the first school for deaf students in the country, in Hartford, Conn. Every year in December, the students of the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) celebrate Clerc Day by participating in a day filled with activities to showcase American Sign Language (ASL) and deaf culture, including the annual Marie Jean Philip ASL Poetry and Deaf Art Competition.

This year, Clerc Day was held on December 8. KDES students from Kindergarten through 8th grade participated in the Marie Jean Philip ASL Poetry, Storytelling and Deaf Art Competition by performing poems, telling stories, and describing artwork based on stories related to Clerc's life. Philip, for whom the contest is named, was a tireless advocate for deaf children and a pioneer in the bilingual-bicultural movement, which focuses on the use and recognition of ASL and awareness of deaf culture. The contest encourages students to creatively express themselves in the art of ASL poetry and storytelling, and to create art related to deaf culture. The students' performances and artwork was evaluated by panels of judges representing the deaf education community.

In the afternoon, the students participated in art activities, such as creating clay masks. The students first had their individual pictures taken of themselves showing emotions like surprise, anger, and happiness. Then they used the pictures to create clay mask self-portraits of those ASL facial expressions. At the end of the day, the KDES community met to announce the contest winners and to watch a video of groups of students dancing to a school spirit song.