A record number of Deaf and Hard of Hearing students from across the province came together for an event in Burnaby, where they shared their talents, competed, and connected with one another.

The two-day event, called DHHproud, included both a Showcase and Friendship Day for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) students. The Showcase drew children and youth from Kindergarten to Grade 12 from 19 school districts who competed in a series of contests on the identity-celebrating theme: This is my Deaf/Hard of Hearing Superpower. Organized and led by the Provincial Outreach Program: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (POPDHH) – a Burnaby School District-administered program – the third annual Showcase grew from 80 participants last year to 125.

The Showcase featured DHH Art, ASL Poetry, and Spotlight Presentations. The following students from Burnaby Schools placed in the top three in their categories.

Category: ASL Poetry Grades K-3
Everly Hohnadel, Grade 2, BCSD, first place
Rustem Drebotii, Grade 2, BCSD, second place
Zoe Kaleniuk, Grade 3, BCSD,  third place

Category: ASL Poetry Grades 4-7
Kobane Koshman, Grade 6, BCSD, second place
Aurelia Braun, Grade 4, BCSD, third place

Category: ASL Poetry Grades 8-12
Teanna Kay, Grade 11, BCSD, first place
Aqida Nazari, Grade 9, BCSD, second place
Balqis Mushfiq, Grade 10, BCSD, third place

Category: DHH Art Grades K-3
Rustem Drebotii, Grade 2, BCSD, first place

Category: DHH Art Grades 4-7
Kayden Chen, Grade 6, Aubrey Elementary, second place
Sophia Shimek, Grade 6, Forest Grove Elementary, third place

Category: DHH Art Grades 8-12
Kenneth Kang, Grade 11, Burnaby South Secondary, third place

Kristin Schnider, Vice-Chair of the Burnaby Board of Education, delivered opening remarks: “While the competitions are the reason bringing us all together, the coming together part – as a community from throughout the province – is perhaps equally important.”

Making new friends is an integral part of the two-day event, with the Showcase preceding Friendship Day, which included a trip to Science World, games, and meals together. A record 261 Deaf and Hard of Hearing students – representing one-fifth of the provincial DHH student population – and 135 teachers and chaperones from 23 school districts participated in Friendship Day.

Students were also invited to tour Victory Hill Dorm in Burnaby, where children living away from home stay while attending the BC Provincial School for the Deaf. BCSD is also administered by the Burnaby School District.

Scroll down to see the full list of contest winners. To see entries from across BC, click here.

This story has been reproduced with permission from the Burnaby School District. The district’s posting can be found here.