The Signal

Local student wins award for essay on deaf struggles

- By Justin Vigil-Zuniga Signal Sports Writer

Academy of the Canyons student Candice Baek was awarded a Scholastic Art and Writing honorable mention for her essay “Added Barrier,” a piece on the struggles of the deaf community through the pandemic.

The essay entails the added struggles of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communitie­s during the pandemic due to face masks.

Baek doesn’t have hearing loss, but did not realize the severity of these struggles until after attending her first deaf event.

“As I mentioned in the essay, I never realized how much the deaf and HOH struggled throughout this pandemic,” said Baek. “After the event was over, I wanted to bring it up to my class, but as it was an online class due to the virus. It was difficult. Instead, I decided to write about it.”

“Added Barrier” discussed a very hot issue with COVID-19 with an often overlooked group in the deaf and HOH.

“However, with the sudden outcome of the pandemic, it has come to my attention that communicat­ion, an important necessity in our lives, would affect people in the way they communicat­e,” Baek wrote in her piece.

Many would think the deaf community would have no issues at all communicat­ing with a face mask. However, the community uses a heavy amount of facial expression­s to communicat­e. They also rely on lip reading when communicat­ing with hearing people when they are able to.

Baek hoped to shine a brighter light on the deaf/ HOH community.

“I feel that not many people are aware of the struggles that this community goes through,” said Baek. “It is something we should advocate for to help them out.”

To read Baek’s winning essay, “Added Barrier,” Visit:

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