Friday, February 17, 2012

FRED Friday...Meet Ms. "D"

FRED Friday…Meet Ms. “D”
Ms. "D"

Today’s featured Fred is Ms. Nina DeSantis…Arts & Humanities teacher at Boyd County Middle School in Summit, KY. 

Her students and fellow educators affectionately call her Ms. “D”.   

Students…past, present, and even future students not only affectionately call her Ms. “D”, they affectionately greet her with hugs when they see her in the hallways.  People love her.

She makes a difference…a very positive difference in the lives of all of her students. 

Sign of the Times Choir

Ms. “D” majored in Speech, English, and Theater at Eastern Kentucky University…and is well educated in not only theater, but also theater for the deaf.  Over twenty years ago she created the Sign of the Times Choir at Boyd County Middle School.  The concept was a different one, as the students in this choir wouldn’t sing…they would sign

Ms. “D” began teaching a small group of students American Sign Language and signed English. The Sign of the Times Choir was born.  They would perform in front of a few groups at the school, signing to a collection of songs…rather than singing. 

Ms. “D” formed this choir for the kids that didn’t have a “group” to call their own at school…the students who weren't into sports or any other clubs…she set out to offer something different and positive for young people that may have needed it the most. 

In its first year, the Sign of the Times Choir had just over a dozen members.  Twenty plus years later, Ms. “D” not only has to cap the number of members, she has to hold auditions for 6th, 7th, & 8th graders each school year because of the overwhelming level of interest among the student body.

Under her direction, the choir performs several times throughout each school year.  The performances are well choreographed, inspiring renditions of a variety of classic/popular songs…In each number, the choir moves, signs, and even dances in unison, signing the words to each song.  Every year the Sign of the Times Choir performs on several occasions at their school, around the holidays at nursing homes, shopping malls, civic and community events across the state of Kentucky and West Virginia. 

Audiences love it, and they’re moved as they watch this very diverse, talented, and well schooled group of middle schoolers passionately signing every word to popular music.  Members of the choir…6th, 7th, & 8th Grade students become stars of the show, and they feel great about themselves, even if it’s only for the 35 minutes they’re on stage.  

I’ve seen several shows…the kids light up before, during, and after the performances.  They are so proud of each other because they’ve just conquered their fears and anxiety of performing live…on stage…and they’ve done so together.   

They may not be the stars of the football team, but they can sign every word to The Star Spangled Banner at the age of 13…and they will be able to communicate with, assist, and/or befriend a deaf person later in life when they’re 23…Can you?

Ms. “D” has devoted her energy and passion to teaching middle school students sign language every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon for over 26 years.  Sure it gets tedious, and it undoubtedly can be tiring.  Ms. “D” does it anyway…for the students.   

Because of her, hundreds…no…thousands of middle school children, many of whom are now grown adults, have not only learned sign language, they’ve learned the art of communication, teamwork, how to stay disciplined, and how to make people smile. They learned by watching and listening to Ms. "D".

Ms. “D” doesn’t make millions of dollars directing the Sign of the Times Choir…she makes a difference…a million positive ones, every single day.
My only competition for proudest nephew...Henry loves his Nini

Her students call her Ms. “D”…I call her my Aunt Nini…and I’m the proudest nephew in the world to be able to call her my Aunt.  Well…maybe one exception.

Love you Nini…Happy Birthday…keep being you.  People love that about you…

Have a great day.


“You shouldn’t be asking, ‘Did I make a difference today?’  Of course you did!  You undoubtedly affected somebody, maybe slightly, maybe significantly…

The most important question to ask yourself is, ‘What kind of a difference did I make?’ “ – Mark Sanborn…Fred Factor, pg 36

Sign of the Times Choir...

"So proud of the babies tonight. They performed so well and received a standing ovation! They also looked so daggone cute!" - Ms. "D"...via Facebook

One Nini hug...for the road...

A great Disney memory...a classic...standing in the epicenter of Magic Kingdom, at the forefront of Cinderella's Castle...just after we jostled/wrestled/battled for strategic positioning for the 3pm parade down Main Street USA...with plans to let him ride all the rides in Fantasyland through the evening...when asked what he wanted to do next, Henry says, "Wanna go to Epcot?"


What is FRED Friday?

In my favorite book, The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn tells an inspiring story of how a man named Fred goes OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep in his role as a Postman for the United States Postal Service.  I love this book.  Since my mom sent it to me in 2004, I've purchased the book for friends, coworkers, and girlfriends...I've even purchased and hand delivered copies of the book to several executives at both Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Fred Friday is a series in which the OneMoreStepRevolution blog will showcase a real life "Fred" on select Fridays.   Reading The Fred Factor definitely leaves us with a desire to to be more Fred-like ourselves, but I also love looking for FredsFreds are everywhere. I love it when I experience a real life Fred.  I'm inspired just as I am every time I re-read the book.  I thought it would be fun to spread the magic of Fred to our OneMoreStepRevolution community.  Enjoy...

1 comment:

  1. I am a former member of the SOTT choir, and everything you wrote about Ms. D is right on. Some of my best memories of Jr. High are because of the choir and her! She made it so much fun. Great article & well deserved!