Hello, My name is Cicely 'CZ' Boga. I am currently living in Chicago, Illinois with my two cats, Barayas and Spencer. I am profoundly deaf from a signing hearing family. I see myself as what I really am: A Deaf, Black Woman. MY first and primary language is sign language (notice I said sign language, not American Sign Language because I didn't learn ASL until I was in high school. I came from a hearing family so most of our signs were homemade , and I used Signed Exact English in school.)
Come Fall 2017, I will be graduating with Bachelor of Art in Interdispicinary Studies from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. I will be continuing my education at Gallaudet University, earning my Master's in Deaf Education and Elementary Education. Teaching deaf children has always been my passion. I grew up in various and unusual academic environments which includes a mainstreamed program. A sense of loss came when they told me I would be leaving the deaf program to be mainstreamed full time. As my 4th grade begin, I experienced confusion when I was placed in a classroom with many hearing children and non-signing teacher. I had my first experience with an interpreter in 1st grade when I had to take Mathematics and Reading in mainstream classes. My interpreter was often absent, so it was really frustrating trying to keep up with my classmates.
Fortunately for me, my mother was (and still is) very devoted to her children's education. She took the time to make sure that I wasn't falling behind in my academics. She encouraged me to develop critical thinking skills. From that ability to think for myself, I developed a strong personality. I became a very strong-willed, sometimes TOO strong-willed. I was able to be independent and stand up for myself. At times, I would come across as abrasive and outspoken, but it was the only way I knew how to ensure that people were paying attention. I faced many obstacles, but I refused to back down. When I transferred from Harold Washington College to NEIU, it was required of me to declare my minor with my Education major. Art came naturally to me, but I was out of practice. I had abandoned my art-self for more "realistic" pursuits. With this, I came to the realization that I need my art-self to push myself much further than I could without art. It allowed me to express my experience and tell my stories. I have discovered that my art spoke louder than my words. My art has made a greater impact on people's lives than I had imagined. I decided to continue my art journey while working toward my goal of being a teacher for the deaf.