Keeper of the Flame of the Future

Posted by Guest Writer:Alexandria Rutowski on 6/18/2021 1:15:00 PM

On March 25, 2021, the Junior NAD Chapter at the Texas School for the Deaf was the first in the U.S. to host its first-ever virtual Keeper of the Flame of the Future (KFF) award ceremony via Zoom with Dr. Frank Turk. The purpose of this honorable award ceremony is to recognize and show appreciation and gratitude for individuals who have had an impact on our deaf community with their contributions and services. 

The event began with Jr. NAD members: Kiara Diaz, Rosalia Fraychineaud, Jacylyn Kelley, Zarek Nathanson, Zara Thompson, Jayne Taylor, Alyssa Glennon, Saul Penda Orellana, Za’Bella Tomlinson, and Anahit Tadevosyan in attendance, along with our Jr. NAD sponsor, Jennifer Campero, the Director of the Statewide Outreach Center at Texas School for the Deaf (TSD), Bobbie Beth Scoggins, and the six award recipients: Dr. Steve Baldwin, Claire Bugen, Jennifer Campero, Julian “Buddy” Singleton, Bernice Singleton, and Christopher Soukup. We also had the honor of having Gallaudet’s Director of Youth Programs, Chanel Bonheyo, join us, too! The Jr. NAD members from TSD were ecstatic for the opportunity to award every recipient. There were breakout sessions held with five leading questions the Jr. NAD members asked the recipients. 

Screenshot of Participants

What drove those leaders to make a difference? And, what were their challenges? 


Of course, words of wisdom were shared. 

Students thought the discussions during the breakout sessions were engaging, and they learned a lot of great tips from the recipients. We learned that they each recognize the importance of involving community members of all ages, as that is what leads to success. The students appreciated that they have a responsibility to be skilled in mingling and develop opportunities for coaching, mentoring, and networking, with people of all ages and rather than keeping within the same age group. 

Regardless of our recipients' careers and spheres of interests, these individuals have something essential in common - they love their jobs and each has goals to do their best to serve the community. They are role models for the younger generations. Like Turk emphasized on several occasions about the importance of the five generations: teenagers, millennials, parents, retirees, and seniors - we, young people, also have the responsibility to aim to remember to include five generations of people in all of our committees’ work. Generations of people with experiences will contribute to the growth of our successes. 

I would also like to emphasize that the teachers, staff, and professionals deserve our gratitude for their hard and honest work, strong efforts, and support in promoting personal development and preparing young people for a successful future. And most importantly, for upbringing each unique young personality and instilling a determined mind and open heart in our changing world. 

I am confident that our student leaders will progress in the future and contribute to the common well-being of the whole community. 

We must always remember that when we are looking up to our older generations for guidance, there are younger generations looking up to us. Embrace the knowledge shared by your mentors, and pass on what you have learned to others.