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The Sound of Silence:
Deaf in our Community
Author: 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 
auditory loss.

Félix was born deaf. He attended elementary school 
MacQuiddy where he learned American Sign Language 
(ASL).

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 
Language. 

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 
friends. 

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 
friends. 

“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.