St. Joseph's School for the Deaf celebrates 150 years

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THROGGS NECK -

St. Joseph's School for the Deaf in the Bronx is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The school is state-funded, which allows deaf children to obtain an education at no cost to them. It's the borough's only school for the deaf.

Executive Director Debra Arles is proud of the school's history. The school was founded by women.

"They say, 'Here's a need and we're going to figure out how to fill it,' and they did and we continue to do that today," says Arles.

The school currently has 75 students, ranging from infants to eighth graders.

Teachers use sign language, spoken English and lights to communicate with students.

Students like Fatoumata Dukureh, 13, enjoy attending the school and appreciate what it has to offer.

"Before, it was very hard to communicate and learn sign, but I really finally did learn how to sign and communicate and now it's easy for me," Dukureh said through her interrupter, Arles.

The school hopes to continue to provide education for deaf students for years to come.

St. Joseph's long history is documented in the school's museum with old photographs, diplomas and a teletype machine.

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