POUGHKEEPSIE – Two Poughkeepsie High School seniors in Dutchess BOCES’ Graphic Design program helped design posters to educate others about Deaf Awareness Week May 1 to 7.
Gabriel Kladakis and Maven Frederick each designed a poster with information about deafness and hearing loss. Amie Fredericks, BOCES teacher of the deaf, thought they, along with two other students in graphic design instructor Steve Lawson’s class, would be perfect to bring the ideas to life.
“With increased awareness, our hope is for our students to feel more included and accepted in their home schools,” Fredericks said. “The teachers of the deaf are thrilled with the outcome of the posters and will be using them for years to come.” Kladakis’ design features the phrase “This is what deaf or hard of hearing people feel when hearing people speak to them. It is hard work” with parts of the letters missing against a blue backdrop. It was the letters missing against a blue backdrop. It was inspired by a picture that Lawson told him to enhance, which made the message stronger.
For Kladakis, he is hopeful that people are encouraged to not judge deaf people after seeing the poster.
“It’s not really all that hard to be kind to people,” Kladakis said. “If it’s someone that can’t hear, it’s not right to just judge them on that.”
While Frederick does not know anyone personally who is deaf, she was nonetheless happy to design a Japanese Manga-styled poster that displays the phrase “Can we be friends?” in sign language to highlight how a simple conversation for deaf people can be a struggle due to their impairment. Frederick hopes this encourages people to reach out to deaf people.
“They want to move past the barrier to talk to you, to get to you,” Frederick said. “We want to get to know them as a person, not just that they’re deaf.”
This is not the first time Frederick has had her work recognized on a larger scale – her design was chosen to be the official logo for the 2023 Hudson Valley Polar Plunge held in February.