Vince Saporito became deaf at 18 months. In his first year at College View Elementary, he was named the district’s elementary teacher of the year, the Orange County Register reports. Now he is also a semifinalist for the Orange County Department of Education’s top teacher award.
“In his first year at our school, he won the hearts of our students, staff and community,” College View Principal Kathy Smith told the Register.
One of two deaf children in a family with five kids, Saporito has been a teacher in deaf and hard of hearing classes in Orange County's Ocean View District for nine years.
Saporito says he does not feel the stigma many attach to deafness. He can read lips and speaks well and he wears hearing aids to give him a sense of ambient noise.
“I define myself as deaf,” Saporito said. “I don’t have a problem with that.”
“If you love what you do, teaching becomes natural,” Saporito said. “My job is to provide love. But tough love with high expectations.”
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