Ms. Geraldine "Jerrie" Lawhorn sits with her close friend Harry Porterfield. Lawson was named the 2011 Winnetka, IL Teacher of the Year.
For the past 40 years, Geraldine “Jerrie” Lawhorn has been an instructor with The Hadley School for the Blind, in Winnetka, IL. At 94, she is still teaching Hadley’s “Elements of Poetry” course. Jerrie is an inspiration to her students, colleagues, and just about anyone else she meets. Ms. Lawhorn was honored as the Winnetka, IL Teacher of the Year on May 4, 2011.
Jerrie lost her sight around the age of 12 and her hearing at 19. Not to be sidelined by her disabilities, she continued her studies and later, was the first African-American deaf-blind person to earn a college degree, receiving her bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University. Jerrie stresses the importance of family in helping the deaf-blind and credits her own independence to the encouragement she received from her mother at a young age.
An accomplished actor, poet and pianist, Jerrie performed monologues at Carnegie Hall and appeared on a number of television programs, including Someone You Should Know in Chicago, The Phil Donahue Show, Good Morning America and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
Jerrie has received numerous awards and honors, including the “Show Business” Magazine Award, induction into the Disabled Persons Hall of Fame of the City of Chicago, The Hadley School’s Challenge of Living Award and the Anne Sullivan Macy Award for her artististic endeavors. Her autobiography, On Different Roads, was published in 1991. Jerrie uses a variety of techniques to communicate with others, including the one-hand manual technique, which uses traditional sign language “spoken” in the hand of the deaf-blind. She also uses a Tellatouch, a typewriter machine which types braille.
The Hadley School congratulates Geraldine on her distinguished career, and recognition as Winnetka's 2011 Teacher of the Year. Her passion for teaching and dedications to her students is unsurpassed.
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