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State Honoree

Desirae Plourde

Maine

serves as an interpreter during sporting events for a hearing-impaired classmate who plays on her school’s basketball, baseball and soccer teams. Desirae, the only other student at her school who knows sign language, attended a game one day and noticed how her friend struggled to understand his coach and fellow players, and how frustrated the team became when trying to communicate. She offered to interpret for him so that he could continue to play sports, and the school could benefit from his athletic talent. “I was inspired to help because I saw that my friend was in need and how much he loved playing the game,” said Desirae. “I share in his joy when he makes a great play and when the team wins.” For the past six years, Desirae has attended daily practices and games to interpret for her friend. And for the rare occasion when she cannot attend, Desirae taught the coach some basic signs. Since she began, Desirae has spent over 1,500 hours interpreting, and every second is worth it to her. “I have had the wonderful opportunity to help my friend accomplish something he probably would not have been able to do without my help,” she said.