Deaf man defies the odds at SOWELA

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:57 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Over at SOWELA, a typical welding class sounds loud.

For Demarcus Thomas, the class doesn’t sound like anything.

“So I was born November 5, at six months I became deaf,” he said.

His mother, Karen Thomas, says he’s not let it defeat him.

“He was always willing, you know, trying to do everything even though he was deaf,” she said. “That didn’t stop him.”

Now, Demarcus finds himself in his third semester of the welding program at SOWELA.

“We got organized with student services to have the interpreter set up, and on the first day of school, we sat down with Demarcus, the interpreters, and his mother, and we kind of hashed out how the program was gonna go, how we were set up,” said Jonathan Darbonne, the welding instructor at SOWELA.

His interpreter, Zoe Domingue, explained how she had to prepare.

“In the beginning, the professors Darbonne and Devin, they would give me books so I could read through to make sure that I fully understand how to do the weld; that way I’m able to explain it better,” she said.

It involved working as a team.

“They observe a lot of my work, and they tell me when I’m doing a good job, you know, they get excited, and they motivate me,” Demarcus said.

With an interpreter by his side, Demarcus had this final message.

“Deaf people and hearing people, they’re the same, they’re the exact same, they can accomplish anything they want,” he said.

We did ask his mother what she hopes people get from this story, in which she says she hopes people see that deaf people can do amazing things in life.

She also says she hopes that parents realize they can push their children and be there for them.

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