The Sound of Silence:
Deaf in our Community
Martín J. Rodríguez
You probably don’t think much about it, but each day
your ears register thousands of noises: the cars
driving down your street, the discussions of your
neighbors, the snoring of a family member.
What if you couldn’t listen to the radio, hear the
birds sing, or speak on your cell phone? This is a
reality for people who are deaf.
Félix González was born in Watsonville. His parents
discovered that he was deaf when Félix was a little
boy, after his grandmother realized that he could not
listen or speak.
Birth defects are the main reason for deafness.
Sicknesses that occur during infancy can also lead to
Félix was born deaf. He attended elementary school
MacQuiddy where he learned American Sign Language
Sign language was invented in France during the 18th
century by Abbot Charles-Michael l’Epée. Sign language
from France was brought to the United States by Thomas
Gallaudet in 1816. Then, he developed American Sign
Sign Language is just like another spoken language.
Deaf people are usually bilingual because they know
sign language and they also read, write and speak in
their native language, such as English or Spanish.
After elementary school, Félix moved on to Rolling
Hills Middle School in Watsonville. Some students made
fun of Félix because he was deaf, which made him feel
bad; he wanted to speak and to listen like his
Upon graduating from Rolling Hills; he went to the
California School for the Deaf in Fremont, California.
In this special school for deaf students, Félix had
regular high school classes such as English, math and
science. He also took sign language classes to improve
his communication. Now, he attends Cabrillo College,
where he majors in Business. In every class he has a
translator, so he knows what is being discussed.
Outside of school Félix spends his time reading sports
magazines and books. The Harry Potter novels are his
favorites. He runs and works out on the track. He has
a job as a lunchtime waiter at Watsonville’s El Alteño
restaurant. He attends parties and goes on dates.
Félix uses a special cell phone. Instead of talking,
he types in his messages and mails them off to his
“I am very happy being deaf,” he says. In the end,
Félix lives and enjoys a typical teen life. Except he
doesn’t have to listen to anyone snoring.