Profiles

Grady

Currently, there are only 10 certified athletic trainers with hearing loss in the entire country. Clarke alum, Grady Congleton, is looking forward to becoming the 11th.

A senior at the University of Vermont in Burlington, he is pursuing a degree in Athletic Training, which focuses on the prevention, recognition, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. He is already trained to handle emergency situations such concussions, cardiac arrest and spinal injuries.

For such a young man, Congleton has an enormous amount of experience already under his belt. When not in class, Congleton photographs many UVM sporting events, and works with Burlington High School athletics. Previously, he worked with UVM men’s lacrosse, St. Michael’s basketball and lacrosse teams, and spent a semester observing the Burlington Fire Department Rescue Squad. After graduation, he’d like to secure a job at a high school and seek a master’s degree. His dream job: to work with an NHL hockey team.

Congleton is one of Clarke’s most committed alumni. He spends many, many hours volunteering as the editor of the Clarke School Alumni Council (CSAC) newsletter. Several times a year, he pulls together stories and photos about Clarke from around the world, connecting over 800 alumni. From 2008 to 2010, he worked as a counselor for Clarke’s Summer Adventure Program (a two-week program in Northampton for children ages 9–14) and this past summer he participated as a volunteer.

After being diagnosed at 16 months old with moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, it was discovered that Grady had a progressive bilateral hearing loss. Today, Congleton is profoundly deaf in both ears. In 2000, he had surgery for a cochlear implant in his left ear at the Children’s Hospital of Boston, and continues to travel there for his mappings.

Congleton’s history with Clarke stretches way back to age three, when he entered the Northampton preschool program. Two years later, when his family moved to Eastern Massachusetts, he became a residential student and remained in that program until eighth grade. Some of his fondest Clarke memories are gym classes and after-school recreation with teachers Dennis Moulton and Diane Dostal. “Those two taught me the importance of having fun no matter if it is competitive or not. They also taught me how powerful athletics and recreation can be in managing one’s stress and mood in life.” To this day, he draws on those experiences, and is always eager to serve as a physical activity advocate for children as well as adults.

“My time at Clarke was lively, positive and enriching and they did a tremendous job in preparing me for middle school at Eaglebrook (Deerfield, MA). To me, Clarke is an incredibly special place—no matter the size of the campus. The buildings and grounds are beautiful and memorable, but it is the amazing people who have worked, lived, and attended Clarke that make it so special.”

Congleton’s life is busy and full, but he does make sure he has down time. When relaxing, you’re likely to find him curled up with his Kindle, reading everything from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to his favorite book, Education of a Coach by the late David Halberstam.

When asked for advice for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, Congleton doesn’t miss a beat: “Never doubt yourself. There are a lot of things that society will say that you can’t do, regardless of what your hearing loss is or how early you received your education. The key is to press on and never give up on your dreams.”



Back to Clarke Profiles

"Penny is a very versatile teacher and has the advanced skills and experience that allow her to build connections with parents, children and collaborating professionals. She is fun, funny, creative and goes the extra mile." –Marian Hartblay, MAT, MED, LSLS Cert. AVEd, Director of Clarke... When three-year old bookworm Angelina was born in December 2013, she failed her newborn hearing screening. Soon after, she was diagnosed with bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss. Her parents were shocked, as both her older siblings have typical hearing. “Mary Jane is the consummate professional in the field of deaf education,” says Dr. Jan Gatty, Director of Child and Family Services at Clarke Northampton and a member of the Smith College faculty. “During her career, Mary Jane has worked with children of all ages, in all settings and with... “Claire has been an incredible work partner in my many years of working with Clarke,” says Laurie Farkas, director of Student Services for Northampton Public Schools. “Claire is a team player, always supporting creative ways we can improve services for students and increase their exposure... When parents of young children who are newly diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing first come to Clarke Philadelphia, their initial contact is often with Clarke’s Early Intervention Coordinator Jeana Novak M.A., LSLS Cert. AVEd. Kristen McCuen, whose two young sons receive Clarke services,... When Emily Hewlings was an infant, her family suspected very early on that she had a hearing loss. “We had a couple of pretty loud dogs,” said her father, David, “and Emily would never wake up when they barked.” Tracy Boland has identical twin boys. And although one is hearing and one is deaf, they’ve been in school together since their very first day of preschool. Boland credits Clarke’s Katie Jennings as an immeasurable part of her son Will’s success. Eight-year-old Nura is a tournament-level chess player who also loves to shoot baskets for hours on end. A future ornithologist, she recites the names of her favorite birds with the same zest as most kids do their favorite ice cream flavors. Listening to Nura sing the lyrics to one of her... Chimaza passed his newborn hearing screening, but at 20 months he wasn’t talking. Concerned, his mother, Christiana, had her son evaluated for speech and language services. At 23 months, Chimaza was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss. At 24 months, he was fitted with hearing aids. When... “Before we came to Clarke, every single speech report we received for our daughter had the word delay in it. This year, the report was different. It said, Chloe’s on track. I can’t describe how happy I was to read those words. When Birch was diagnosed with unilateral microtia/atresia (a malformed outer ear and closed ear canal, resulting in a severe conductive hearing loss) at birth, his parents joined a group made up of families with children who had a similar diagnosis. During the first picnic hosted by the group,... JennyKate Marble was initially introduced to the field of deaf education while an undergraduate at Smith College. A class with Dr. Janice Gatty, Clarke’s Director of Child and Family Services, left a lasting impression. “Many of the videos shown in Jan’s class were of Clarke students. And I... Currently, there are only 10 certified athletic trainers with hearing loss in the entire country. Clarke alum, Grady Congleton, is looking forward to becoming the 11th. “As a baby, my son Jerome always loved music—he was even humming tunes at ten months old! At two years old, Jerome was hitting all of his other development milestones, but he wasn't talking. Because Jerome passed a hearing screening at birth, we didn't learn of his condition—sensorineural... “At just a month old, Mira was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. She attended kindergarten and first grade at Clarke, which laid a foundation for language and instilled a sense of confidence in her. Sarah Ammerman, M.E.D., Ph.D., never thought she would end up at the Smith College/Clarke School Graduate Program in Teacher Education. But the minute she stepped into her first classroom with children with hearing loss, her mind was made up. “We were very nervous when Zachary began first grade in a mainstream school. But within the first few days his teacher called to tell me how impressed she was with Zach.