|Brittany Lentz with her main mode of transportation.|
Academically she is smart. How did that happen? I'm amazed she won the national Spelling Bee for the Deaf last December...the top deaf speller in the country?! Last year she was getting 95% and 100% on every test in her deaf class, but honestly, she was not doing 6th grade work. She was not doing the work that other 12 year olds could do. Mrs. Briceno, our principal, asked me what I wanted for her in the future. In other words, she wanted to know what would happen to Sulmi when she graduates from the Deaf program. She would not be able to go to high school, because in spite of excellent grades, she wasn't up to par with her hearing peers.
So I prayed about it, and thought about it and decided that Sulmi needed to join the hearing 7th grade class this fall so that when she graduates next year from primary school she will be better prepared for hearing high school. But how could she join the hearing class. She is totally deaf. So I prayed about an interpreter for her and told some people in the US who have contacts with interpreter training programs to see if there was someone who might be interested in coming to Belize to interpret for a year. I couldn't expect anyone to come for longer, but at the same time knew we would need an interpreter for 6 years (7th grade thourgh 12th grade). I decided to trust God one year at a time. After all, it is His plan.
Brittany contacted me and said she might be interested in coming. (Hooray...Go God!) She did the paperwork for EMM, raised her own funds, and arrived August 23. God knew what he was doing when he tapped her. Brittany is a bit reserved. Some Americans have come to Belize and sort of told the administration what Deaf people need...how interpreting should work, etc. BUT this is the first time our school has had a full time interpreter for a deaf students in a hearing class. Brittany's gentle way helps with the transition and smooths out the "inconvenience" for the hearing teacher. (The classroom teacher is also wonderful ... he is learning to sign (some) and regards Sulmi as an intelligent child, not a special needs student. He's great.) Anyway, back to Brittany, her skills are good and her personality is a perfect fit. I am so glad she is here and God chose, this woman, Brittany to come interpret as the person to initiate this deaf child in a hearing classroom setup.
Please pray for her and for Sulmi. Beginnings are tough. Sulmi's doesn't have all of the background skills she needs. Sometimes she is actually ahead many of her classroom peers (like in math) but sometimes, she is behind and that is a "new", frustrating, embarrassing feeling for her. Pray also for Brittany that she will have God's wisdom in adjusting to life here and making decisions about how to interpret aspects of classroom life.