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Clarke Alum Chosen to Participate in Youth Leadership Jacksonville

No one was surprised to learn that 16-year-old Chase Brannan was recently chosen to participate in Youth Leadership Jacksonville (YLJ), especially his former teachers at Clarke Jacksonville.

"Chase is a shining example of what is possible for children who are deaf or hard of hearing when they receive appropriate hearing and speech services at a young age," said Susan G. Allen, director of Clarke Jacksonville, and Chase's former speech and language therapist. "I am so proud of him. He has come so far since his days at Clarke Jacksonville as a preschool student who was working hard to learn to listen and talk."

Youth Leadership Jacksonville is a year-long program that brings together a select group of high school students and prepares them to become ethical leaders and active, contributing members of their communities. Students are nominated during their sophomore year by an accredited public or private high school. They must secure approval by the school principal and have a solid academic standing. This year only 52 students were selected from Northeast Florida High Schools after an application and interview process.

According to Chase's father, Chuck, his son has received honors or high honors throughout his entire academic career. "I guess that's a testament to Clarke," he said. "Chase made the transition to his mainstream school very successfully."

Chase, who enjoys baseball, weight lifting, and exhibiting livestock, currently holds a 3.7 grade point average at Baker County High School in Macclenny and is active with the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

"Chase's participation in YLJ is quite an honor and it will be a great experience for him," said Chase's father, Chuck. "I went to the YLJ orientation with Chase, and of course, he was the only student there with cochlear implants."

Chase received his first implant at age five and his second implant when he was 13. He was one of the first students to attend Clarke Jacksonville when the school opened its doors in 1996. Chase claims his fondest memories from Clarke include field trips to St. Augustine and the old fort, Castillo de San Marcos.

"I really appreciate my teacher from Clarke, Cynthia Robinson. I owe a lot to her and to Susan Allen, who taught me how to speak before I even received my implant," said Chase. "My mom, Kim Brannan, also played a role in whatever success I achieved. She sent me to Clarke Jacksonville for six years, which is 45 miles away from our home, while she worked a busy job everyday as a school Principal. That says a lot about Clarke. She really wanted me to get the best education and start I could get."

Clarke Schools Represented in Top Marathons

Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech has been named an officially recognized community charity for the November 6, 2011 ING New York City Marathon. The premier event of New York Road Runners, the ING New York City Marathon is one of the world's great road races, drawing more than 100,000 applicants annually.

The race attracts world-class professional athletes, not only for the more than $600,000 in prize money, but also for the chance to excel in the media capital of the world before two million cheering spectators and 315 million worldwide television viewers. As any of the more than 700,000 past participants will attest, crossing the finish line in Central Park is one of the great thrills of a lifetime.

Tracy Newman, of Maryland, has secured one of five spots allocated for Clarke runners in the ING New York City marathon. Tracy began running eight years ago and has participated in several half marathons. She recently crossed the finish line of the 2011 Baltimore Marathon.

"I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to run in the ING New York City Marathon, but my reasons for running on behalf of Clarke are so much more personal," said Tracy. "My sister, Meredith Berger, is the director of Clarke New York. She has dedicated her life to the education of children who are deaf or hard of hearing."

According to Tracy, while her training for the marathon has included months of physical and mental preparation, it is the hard work of Clarke's children, families and staff members that is the true accomplishment.

"It's the day-to-day achievements of Clarke children and staff that should be recognized and celebrated," said Tracy. "I hope to raise money and awareness for the great work being done at all five of Clarke's schools."

Tyler Brinkmann of Falmouth, MA recently ran for Team Clarke in the Boston Marathon. Tyler came in at 3:02:5— 4 minutes better than his time at last year's marathon and a personal best. To date, Tyler has raised $1,100 for Clarke. "I can run for miles, but it doesn't compare to the distance Clarke will go for their students," said Tyler.

Runners for Team Clarke will also be crossing the finish line at the Falmouth Road Race on Sunday, August 14th and the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9th.

For more information about how to participate in these events and others, visit


A New Day

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Clarke's Spring Fundraising Campaign in Full Bloom

There's Still Time to Make a Difference!

Flowers are in full bloom this season and so is Clarke's "Make a Gift and Watch it Grow" fundraising campaign.

All gifts to Clarke received by June 30th will have double or TRIPLE the impact thanks to a charitable foundation that is providing an unprecedented amount of matching support to our schools.

"My thanks go back to Clarke a million times," said Ketty, a parent of a child attending Clarke New York. "Thank you for transforming my daughter's life into one filled with happiness, wonder, and self-worth!"

New gifts of $25 or more to Clarke are being tripled by the Foundation, and gifts to Clarke from friends who have donated in the past are being doubled! This means that whether you are a new supporter of Clarke, or a long time friend, your gift will have a tremendous impact on our programs and services.

Charitable contributions support 40% of Clarke's operating budget at six locations along the East Coast. Each gift to Clarke ensures that our life-changing work with children who are deaf and hard of hearing remains accessible to all families regardless of their income level.

Gifts to our schools equip classrooms with the latest acoustical treatments and FM systems that provide an optimal learning and listening environment for our young students. In addition to scholarships, donations support the purchase of computers and books, and allow Clarke children to enjoy field trips to the zoo, local museums and more.

Our donors not only support our schools – they support the independent future of our students by helping Clarke Schools lay a solid foundation of listening, speaking, and learning for the children we serve.

To make a difference and to be a part of our students' success, visit to contribute to our "Make a Gift and Watch it Grow" campaign, or call 413.582.1189.

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