Kamron King, a Portland High School freshman, was recently recognized by the Portland Board of Public Education and Superintendent Xavier Botana. Botana said that Kamron, in his role as the PHS Bulldogs’ first Deaf mascot, exceeds the usual high standards that the Portland Public Schools sets for its students.
The recognition took place at the school board’s Feb. 28 meeting. Botana described Kamron in this way:
“He has made quite an impact since he volunteered for the mascot role last fall. His can-do attitude and his willingness to take on new challenges have made him a role model for other students.
In his Bulldog costume, Kamron spreads school spirit at sports games, pep rallies and other social events. He’s been Deaf since birth, so has to rely on strengths other than hearing to do the job. As Kamron has explained, ‘Deaf people are very visual. I use my eyes and my energy to get the crowd fired up.’ And judging from the reaction of his fellow students and the public – particularly the young children in the crowds – he’s doing an outstanding job.”
Botana noted that Kamron’s story has drawn a lot of media attention, both locally and nationwide. The coverage has included a story in The Boston Globe and on NBC Nightly News, in its “Inspiring America” series.
Botana added that Kamron attends Portland High School through the district’s educational collaboration with the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing /Governor Baxter School for the Deaf. This is the 14th year of collaboration between the Portland Public Schools and that school, which is located on Mackworth Island in Falmouth.
“The partnership gives Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in high school through elementary school access to classrooms and extracurricular programs that only a large, diverse, urban school like ours can provide,” Botana said. “And our students benefit from the opportunity to learn American Sign Language and from the wider social experiences the collaboration provides.”
He continued, “Most importantly, our district and community also benefits from having students like Kamron. No question about it – that young man in that Bulldog costume is truly a Bulldog! Thank you, Kamron, for your dedication, enthusiasm and service.”