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America Sign Language is a visual language. It was originated approximately 200 years ago. More »

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Did You Know?

ASL painted image by Angela (Gargac) Botz ’85
Saturday, April 15, 2017 is the National ASL Day! A day of observance celebrating American Sign Language. Yay!! 
On April 15, 1817, the first school for the deaf in the United States opened. Students gathered there over the years and at subsequent deaf schools across our nation. The children intermingled Native American Signs, French Sign Language, and Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language. This process brought forth modern American Sign Language.
Support and believe in our deaf children acquiring sign language as to become successful. And also offers optimal opportunities for academic and social success, and thus both should be part of their language-rich and fully accessible environment.
We want you to join ISDAA and honor 200 years of our unique heritage in ASL, and open opportunities for our community across the country through this holiday and always! 

Angela Botz, our new ISDAA Public Relations

ISDAA is pleased to welcome Angela Botz as our Public Relations.

Angela (Gargac) Botz, ’85 is a leader, mentor, civil rights advocate and civil liberties. She is committed to her community, both state and national and the people around her. Botz has years of experience in leadership skills/development, value-based decision making, and mentoring. She is a Community Outreach Coordinator, Civil Rights Advocate and also coordinate Deaf Services at IMPACT Center for Independent Living in Alton, IL. She is involved in numerous of committees and boards including the Land of Lincoln Advisory Board of Alton and the Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation – District 5 Representative. She plans to continue to build a professional and positive image and brand for the deaf and hard of hearing community by assisting the community though self-advocate awareness, political empowerment, cultural preservation and disability awareness for equality so our community will continue to be the driving force to empower younger generation in our society.

She is exciting to be the Public Relations (PR) for ISDAA and to keep people informed.
Botz is known for her bubbly personality, optimistic attitude, and her undeniable passion for fighting for civil and disability rights. Her interests include painting, traveling, graphic design and spending time with her family and friends.

In Memory of Wallace Jeffers

Wallace T. Jeffers
August 04, 1933 – March 11, 2017
ATTENDED ISD – 10/01/1984 TO 02/28/1995


Monday, Mar 20, 2017
10:30 AM-11:30 AM

Funeral Service

Monday, Mar 20, 2017
11:30 AM


Wallace T. Jeffers, 83, of Jacksonville, IL died Saturday, March 11, 2017, at Prairie Village Healthcare Center in Jacksonville.

He was born August 4, 1933 in East St. Louis, IL.  He married Catherine Mitchell on March 17, 1957 and she preceded him in death on April 22, 1998.  He later married Ophelia Olive Jackson on September 30, 2000 and she survives.

He is also survived by eight step children, William Leon Mitchell Sr. of Jacksonville, James Daugherty (wife, Connie) of Bolingbrook, Sylvia Jackson of Chicago, Rodney Jackson (wife, Lynn) of University Park, Vicki LeMay of Los Angeles, CA, Susan Carter (husband, Michael) of Plano, TX, Leslie Norton of Springfield, and Billie Jean Jackson (husband, Chris Cathcart) of Los Angeles, CA and numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.

Wallace was a retired master sergeant with the US Air Force having served his country for 20 ½ years during both the Korean and Vietnam wars.  He formerly worked as a heavy equipment operator for Freesen, Inc. and later owned and operated Jeffers Moving and Storage for over 10 years.  He was then employed 10 years at the Illinois School for the Deaf prior to his retirement.

A dedicated community servant, Wallace served 12 years on the Jacksonville City Council as an alderman from the 3rd and 4th wards.  He was instrumental in the creation and design of the State of Illinois Retired Military license plate, now available to retired veterans to recognize their service.  He also served as a mentor for a young man at Lincoln’s Challenge in Rantoul.

He was a devoted member of Mt. Emory Baptist Church in Jacksonville where he served as a trustee and deacon.  In addition, he formerly served on the Salvation Army Board of Directors and as a volunteer with Big Brother-Big Sister.  He was a life member of Jacksonville Amvets Post #100 and the Springfield American Legion Post.

Funeral services will be held 11:30 am, Monday, March 20, 2017, at Mt. Emory Baptist Church in Jacksonville with burial and military rites at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield.  The family will meet friends at the church from 10:30 am Monday until the time of services.  In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are suggested to Mt. Emory Baptist Church.  The Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville is in charge of the arrangements.  Condolences may be sent online at www.buchanancody.com.

In Memory of Clyde Smith

Clyde C. Smith, 77, of Knoxville, passed away Saturday, March 11, 2017. Clyde graduated from the Tennessee School for the Deaf. He is survived by son, Weldon (Sally) Smith; daughters, Misty Lizarraga, Carolene (Hal) Johnson, Margie (Sean) Hennessey; Step-sons, Ian Cody, Jon Cody; sisters, Carolyn Willis, Wanda Bowman; 15 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; 2 nieces and 2 nephews. A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Deaf Pilots Association, Inc., www.deafpilots.org. Condolences may be offered at www.berryfuneralhome.com..

2017 CAAD Women Champions

WSAD Warriors Head Coach Dino Lomanto, ’91 and Assistant Coach Steve Haynie, ’85 led their team to win their first 2017 Central Athletics Association of the Deaf (CAAD) women champions in Ann Arbor, Michigan last March 3-4, 2017. Dino got ‘Coach of the Tournament’ award. Their team will attend two national tournaments, USA Deaf Basketball (USADB) on April 20-22 in Washington D.C. and National Deaf Basketball Organization (NDBO) on May 4-6 in Dayton, Ohio. Congratulations, Dino and Steve.