Alumni Jessica“Because of CID, 
I have no barriers. 
I know I can go 
out and achieve anything.” 
- Jessica

 Meet Some Successful Alumni

Jessica Nieva Whitehead’s eyes sparkle when she talks about her career as a dentist, helping people and about her time as a student at CID – Central Institute for the Deaf. Jessica graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Dentistry in 2001, earning her BA in Biology and her DDS. Jessica is profoundly deaf in both ears. Her parents brought her to CID when she was 2. She graduated from CID in 1985, at age 10. Jessica was able to mainstream successfully and is grateful for the education she received from CID. “I remember a deep, deep caring and a great sense of belonging to a very close-knit family,” she said. “The teachers really encouraged us and instilled a lot of confidence in me. Because of CID, I know I can go out and achieve anything. I have no barriers. “Today, Jessica is enjoying a thriving private dental practice in Fenton, Missouri. In 2006, she received bilateral cochlear implants. She said she can now hear sounds she couldn’t hear with her hearing aids – including her children’s voices.
Alumni Charlie“[CID teachers] give full time attention to each student and that makes all the difference.”
- Charlie
Charlie Weir is profoundly deaf. His family enrolled him at CID in his early teens and he graduated in 1991. Although he attended CID for only three years, he remembers the time as “a lot of hard work that really paid off and made me what I am today.” All of his life, Charlie has played sports. From water polo and lacrosse to golf and baseball, athletics are in his blood. He attended the University of Massachusetts and Lenoir-Rhyne College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine and athletic training in 2001. Charlie served as an athletic trainer for the USA men’s soccer team at the 2009 Deaf Olympics in Taipei, Taiwan. He has worked with the Auburn University football team and the track and tennis teams at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He was assistant athletic trainer at Anderson University in South Carolina before he moved to St. Louis and became an athletic trainer at PRORehab pc and Eureka High School. Charlie loves working with student athletes, preventing, evaluating, treating and rehabilitating sports injuries. Now in his thirties, Charlie praises the CID teachers for helping him acquire speech and social skills. “They give full time attention to each student and that makes all the difference,” he said.
Alumni Allison“We had the best 
for Allison at CID …” 
- Allison’s Mom
For nine years, Allison made an 80-mile commute every day to attend CID. In 2003, she graduated and entered fifth grade in an elementary school near her hometown of Jerseyville, Illinois. She made her transition to the mainstream look easy, becoming a straight-A student and ending her first year on the High Honor Roll. She played club soccer and also made the school basketball team, which went undefeated.“What’s really incredible is the study habits that have been instilled in Allison,” her mother, Melissa, said. “She is extremely goal-oriented. When she has a test, she studies every night and is motivated to get the best possible grade. ”Allison has a cochlear implant, but still has to work extra hard because of her deafness. “We had the best for Allison at CID and so we expected to continue to receive the best possible services in the school district,” said Melissa. In high school, Allison played cross country track and soccer. She was active on student council and art club and was a member of her school’s Homecoming Court in her junior and senior year. Now she attends college.
Alumni Tommy

“CID gave me the gift  of speaking and writing fluent English, which set the foundation for acquiring other languages, including American Sign Language.” 

- Tommy

At 6 months old, Tommy Horejes was diagnosed profoundly deaf. His parents brought him to CID, where he spent 11 years learning to listen and talk. In 1990, Tommy graduated from CID and started classes in an elementary school with hearing students. Just a few weeks into the school year, he was elected president of his fifth-grade class. Success followed Tommy throughout his academic career. In high school, he served on the student council and played three varsity sports. He became serious about a career in law when he “saw the injustice of the legal system toward disabled people.” Tommy earned a BS and a master’s degree and, in December 2009, a PhD in Justice Studies, specializing in disability policy, at Arizona State University. He is an assistant professor in the Gallaudet University Department of Sociology. He is a member of a research team with a three-year $497,267 grant to compare kindergartens for deaf children in the U.S., France and Japan. Tommy’s eight-page vitae include academic manuscripts, lectures at sociology conferences in Boston, San Franscisco, Barcelona, Bethlehem City and Gothenburg, Sweden, committee work for the Society for the Study of Social Problems Accessibility Council and manuscript review for the American Educational Research Association and the Sociology Quarterly. His formal accomplishments began in the CID Boy Scout Troop 132 and including attaining the rank of Eagle, the Order of the Arrow and the Northwestern University Book Award. “I will never forget the unconditional support my teachers at CID gave me,” he said.
Alumni Heather“CID was one of the best schools I have attended.” – Heather Whitestone McCallum, Miss America 1995 When Heather Whitestone faced the media following her crowning as Miss America in September of 1994, she may have remembered the first time she stood in front of a large audience to speak. Like her fellow graduates honoring a school tradition, then the 14-year-old Heather was giving her commencement speech at CID – Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1987, Heather was confident and matter-of-fact.“Thank you, teachers, for all you have taught me,” she said toward the end of her speech. “I feel very prepared for next year. “Heather came to CID in 1984 at the age of 11 because she was doing poorly in a mainstream school. She had lost most of her hearing when she was 18 months old. At CID, she was an extraordinary student. In just three years, she made six grade levels of improvement in reading – about twice the normal rate for a hearing child — and was ready for high school. Heather’s platform during her reign as Miss America was designed to foster youth motivation and was called “Anything Is Possible.” She developed the “STAR” program, which teaches children five steps for success: be positive, believe in yourself, face your obstacles, work hard and build a support network. Heather attributes much of her success to her mother, Daphne Gray, who initially taught her to speak, who encouraged her in everything from academics to ballet – and who became famous for showing her that the word American ends with the letters “I CAN.” Heather showed everyone the meaning of those words and won hearts around the country with a breathtaking ballet performance in the 1995 Miss America Pageant. Heather has since married and become the owner of a cosmetics company. In 2003, she received a cochlear implant. Nearly two decades after her reign as Miss America, she is still a popular speaker worldwide.