For the Deaf & Hard of Hearing or the Hearing Desiring to Teach Hearing Impaired Students
I first met Lori nearly 20 years ago, courtesy of her little brother. As it is with the Lieberman family, she welcomed me like I was part of the fold. In the years that passed, she became my daughter’s nanny/tutor, my house-sitter, my cat-sitter, and most importantly, my friend and one of the most unique and gracious people I have ever had the honor of knowing.
Lori’s passion and dedication to her students was truly remarkable. Whenever she appeared, my daughter would grab school things and ask Lori for ‘help.’ She found this funny, often commenting, ‘Why does she always do that?’ My response was easy – if there was one thing that stood about Lori’s character, it was her ability to teach. Her enthusiasm for educating, for truly coaching, simply oozed from the very core of her being. If God puts you on earth to pursue a mission, there is absolutely no doubt that this was Lori’s.
The greatest thing that Lori ever inadvertently (or maybe intentionally) taught me was that there was no obstacle, no hindrance that could get in the way of achieving anything and everything that you desired. This was the main message she conveyed to her students, as well. Being deaf or hard of hearing just is. Having cancer just is. You don’t stop dreaming, you don’t stop believing. Watching her live was beautiful and inspiring – there were simply no excuses, but instead an outpouring of love, devotion and dedication that was simply unparalleled.
When Lori was diagnosed with cancer, she never once faltered in her belief that she would beat it. All she desired was to return to her students. She never stopped caring. She never stopped believing. She never stopped fighting to be back in the classroom. I believe that her passion for her students, for the dream of teaching again is what kept her with us through all those years that she fought that truly valiant battle. I was endlessly dumbfounded by her positive attitude, by her hope and spirit. As a matter of fact, the last conscious words Lori said to me were, ‘I can still help you. I can still tutor. I still want to. I still love you. I can still help.’
Listening to her students at her funeral describing the impact that she had on them was the impetus for this scholarship. It is our way of keeping her spirit alive, of continuing to help those that she cared most deeply about. We all believe Lori’s message – “You can be and do anything that you want,’ and while she was called home, we are dedicated to carrying forth her message and mission.