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Nyle DiMarco comes home

April 26, 2016
By Phil Dignan

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On Monday nights between 8 and 10 p.m. this spring, Nyle DiMarco, ’13, enters the homes of millions of amazed television viewers, becoming one of the top and most popular contestants on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). On Saturday, April, 23, DiMarco came back to the place that gave him in his words, “the roots of my success.”

“Once I came in through the main gate, I felt that familiar bump in the road. It was then that I knew I was home,” said DiMarco.

Though DiMarco’s visit to Gallaudet and D.C. lasted less than 24 hours because he needed to return to Los Angeles to prepare for the April 25 episode of DWTS, he certainly made an impact. DiMarco joined the opening ceremonies of this year’s Academic Bowl, spoke to a large crowd at the Field House during a public appearance, and created a promotional video for the Offices of Admissions and University Communications.

“I am really touched to have you all come here just to see me,” said DiMarco to the Field House audience, which included enthusiastic students from Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) and the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD). KDES students were particularly star-struck, refusing for a time to let DiMarco leave their embraces after a group photo.

“We are grateful for your humble commitment, your leadership, and your vision for the world to be a better place for all of us,” said President Roberta J. Cordano as she welcomed DiMarco. 

The celebrity DiMarco credits his time at Kendall Green for his successes. “Gallaudet gave me my identity. It gave me my lifelong friends,” said DiMarco. “Gallaudet teachers always believed in me. The University believed in me, and so I believe in myself. My journey with America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars would not have happened without the deaf community.”

As a mathematics major, DiMarco originally planned to become a teacher of deaf children. However, his sudden rise to fame now allows him to have a broader reach with the deaf community. “I want to make our country and the world a better place for the deaf community. I especially want to make it better for deaf children.”

His most recent initiative is the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which serves as a vehicle to advocate and provide resources for early language intervention and literacy development for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families. DiMarco also serves as a spokesperson for LEAD-K, a language equity and acquisition campaign for kids, and joined California State Senator Cathleen Galgiani to announce a senate bill that passed with bipartisan support through the California’s legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2015.  

“I was born and raised with ASL and English, and my opportunities have been remarkable,” said DiMarco in the video announcement. “All deaf children deserve the same. Deaf children cannot wait until tomorrow for language. ASL and English- the time is now.”

As the Gallaudet community embraced DiMarco’s visit, he continues to embrace all that Gallaudet has given to him and now serves as a spokesperson for the University.

“Gallaudet is the heart of the deaf community,” said DiMarco. “Growing up, I always wanted to attend Gallaudet and never considered any other school. Gallaudet is my community. It is my home. I want to give back.”

26 April 2016
By Phil Dignan

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Phil Dignan

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