Jose Ovidio Velasquez, Graduate Student, Lamar University

Jose “Ovi” Ovidio Velasquez was born in Ejido Nuevo Rodriguez, Nuevo Leon, Mexico on April 26, 1966. He is the son of a welding supervisor and a housewife.

Ovi is the third child in his family and has two older sisters and two younger brothers. He spent most of his childhood in San Antonio, Texas and has a deaf sister.

Ovi attended the Regional School Day School Program for the Deaf and graduated in 1985. He graduated from Gallaudet University in 1989 earning an Associate of Applied Science in Office System Programs. He then worked as an Administrative Assistant at Pitney Bowes Management Services for 11 years. He was Vice President of the Texas Association of the Deaf around the same time period. He then decided to return to Gallaudet University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies in 2004.

After graduation, Ovi worked as a Substitute Teacher at Northside and Northeast Independent School Districts during the Fall of 2004. There he realized he really needed to earn his Master’s Degree. Ovi recalled a situation that influenced his decision. “Two mainstream students in the middle school asked for an interpreter to help with their assignments while I was sitting next to them. An interpreter told them that was why I was there. If they had any questions, they should ask me. They told her that I couldn’t help them because I was DEAF.” This really shocked and frustrated Ovi. It was then he understood the dire need for deaf role models, especially for the young people in San Antonio.

To achieve his goals, Ovi is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Deaf Education/Deaf Studies at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas and expects to graduate in 2006. His goal is to set-up a regional day school program for the deaf or a charter school (which would be named after him). Since many deaf students in San Antonio attend school near their homes, Ovi would like to see very strong day programs emerge.

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