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Rocky Mountain Deaf School 'thrilled' with 'CODA' win for deaf representation

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Posted at 3:54 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 09:41:11-04

DENVER — When Troy Kotsur emotionally accepted his Academy Award for his role in "CODA" on Sunday night, he signed "this is our moment" as he dedicated the win to the deaf community. On Monday morning, students and staff at Rocky Mountain Deaf School shared in that moment together.

“We are thrilled,” school director Amy Novotny signed during an interview. “To have something on the media, on the big screen, that shows and recognizes deaf people all over the world.”

"CODA" chronicled the high school journey of a child of deaf adults. The "CODA" win for best picture put the deaf community in the worldwide spotlight, something that teachers and staff at RMDS acknowledged as a positive thing for their 80+ students.

“Any message that can be sent about deaf success is important to our students. We want our students to see success not just in movies but in any fields and opportunities,” Novotny signed.

A prime example of that success was just broadcast worldwide.

“If they see someone doing it, there is proof I can do it as well,” Novotny added.

Teachers and staff see that lesson for students as priceless. The lesson for the rest of the world, they say, is what still needs to happen.

“Accessibility,” Novotny signed. “We made one step, but we will get there eventually.”

Officials with the Colorado Department of Human Services and the director of the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind, said in a statement Monday "CODA's" win was a win for communities with disabilities.

"Beyond its cinematic accomplishments, the awards and recognition for 'CODA' are a significant accomplishment for the deaf communities and for people with disabilities,” said Michelle Barnes, executive director of the CDHS. “When a film not only showcases deaf people but includes them in the production process, it raises awareness and provides education to audiences worldwide."