Baylor prof helping launch Christian school for deaf students from across Texas
Dr. Lewis Lummer, a senior lecturer of deaf education and American Sign Language at Baylor, understands well the challenges that deaf students face — because he has lived it. Having himself overcome educational barriers due to being deaf, his desire to help others do the same has helped lead to a unique school for the deaf opening this fall in Waco.
Christian Academy for the Deaf, Texas’ first fully functioning, tuition-free Christian school for deaf students, will begin classes this fall. The academy will eventually offer K-12 classes for students from across Texas, providing a rare service Lummer would have liked to have received as a child: a top-notch, faith-based education.
Students at the new school will find Lummer’s life to be an inspiration. Born to deaf parents, you could say American Sign Language is his native language. But that didn’t stop him from accomplishing his educational goals, as he earned an associate’s degree in civil engineering, a bachelor’s in international studies, a master’s degree in deaf education and a doctorate in education. He went on to teach a variety of grade levels in elementary and high school before eventually joining the faculty of Baylor’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2010.
Some of Lummer’s earliest memories in both school and church sparked his interest in a Christian school for the deaf. He was frustrated as a child about barriers to education, and remembers going to church with his family and being unable to really follow along or understand what was being said. It wasn’t until he met a deaf pastor as an 18-year-old that his faith came alive.
Today, Lummer says, less than 1% of deaf students have the opportunity to receive a rigorous, faith-based education. The dream of a school like Christian Academy for the Deaf has motivated Lummer for more than a decade; that dream is now becoming reality. The school’s seven-member board has a distinct green-and-gold tint, as it includes not only the Baylor professor but also three BU alumni (Kathy Bartlett, BA ’08; Wayne Hampton, BSEd ’77; and Ben Saage, BSEd ’82, MSEd ’83).
“Many parents don’t have an opportunity to send their children to a school such as this,” Lummer says. “Other options hearing people have are homeschooling, etc., but here deaf children can come, and we can provide equal access to everything right here, possibly to someone from Dallas, Austin, Houston. This could be a central area here and kind of a hot hub for deaf education.”
Sic ’em, Christian Academy for the Deaf and Dr. Lummer!