School president answers life calling to help kids grow

School president answers life calling to help kids grow
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT
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EVENDALE, Ohio (WXIX) - St. Rita School for the Deaf has had a long-standing history in Cincinnati, along with one particular teacher who has been with the school since she was a child.

Angela Frith has been part of the St. Rita family since her mother graduated in 1970.

“So, interesting story, my mom was born hearing, and then probably when she was about four or five, she lost her hearing due to some medication because she was very sick and she was in the hospital,” Frith said.

After a life-changing diagnosis, Frith’s mother began going to St. Rita where she flourished.

St. Rita is the place where her mother later met her husband, Angela’s dad, who also served as president of the school from 1990 until 2017.

The school became a second home for Frith.

“I remember students babysitting me and going to football games, and over there is a picture of me as a little cheerleader dressed with an older cheerleader,” recalls Frith.

She says growing up she knew she wanted to be in education but wanted to create her own path. So, she got her start at the YMCA working on children’s programs but answered a call to come back.

”I swore, swore I would never work for my father or ever come back to St. Rita’s and somehow along the way, there was a public relations job that opened up and I figured since I knew so many stories, knew a lot of the history, why not give it a shot,” Frith says.

She got the job in 1999 as the director of public relations and eventually worked her way up to becoming the president of the school.

She has brought innovative ideas like merging classrooms for the hearing and non-hearing.

A preschool program her daughter was also a part of.

“Sign language can benefit more than just the deaf community and what I think is neat is that our hearing kids as they go and learn this language and they learn about this deaf culture and the deaf community and what that means to their peers that they have classes with and they grow up with is that these hearing kids can become advocates for the deaf community and deaf culture,” said Frith.

St. Rita caters to all students with a variety of communication needs from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Frith says the school helps children with even the toughest challenges grow into successful adults preparing them for an independent life.

“It’s hard to go into classrooms and work with students with a variety of different needs and different languages and communication needs, but in the end, as long as you see a little bit of success, or you see a little bit of progress, then you’ve done your job,” she says.

Frith says part of that success is providing a safe space for the students and keeping the classrooms small while focusing on their individual strengths.

She says watching the students graduate, breaking down barriers, and becoming teachers, musicians and professional athletes is just part of the joy her job brings every day.

Just like in her younger years, Frith says she will continue to be a cheerleader for the school for life.

Going forward, her goal is to improve the social media presence of St. Rita School of the Deaf so more people around the world can see their success stories.

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