When we initially interviewed Paul Hovan, he was attending the National Technical Institute for the Deaf / Rochester Institute of Technology (NTID/RIT), an opportunity that was in part made possible by his experience at Timken Early College High School, formerly called Canton Early College High School.
Born profoundly deaf, Paul had struggled in the past to find schools that would treat him like the capable student he was and provide the resources for him to learn. What he and his family discovered at Timken Early College High School was a place where teachers didn’t consider Paul’s deafness an obstacle to his ability to work on a college level – an environment that launched him into the future they always believed he could have.
Almost five years have passed since our initial interview and we wanted to reconnect with Paul and see what he’s up to now.
“I graduated in 2013 from NTID/RIT with a degree in Arts and Imaging,” Paul said.
He credits Timken Early College High School with preparing him for traditional college courses. “Early college high school forced me to be a more serious student and realize that college would be tough and I had a lot of work to do,” Paul said. “Being deaf, I was behind in my English classes especially. The teachers were great and they were there for me when I needed extra help.”
When asked what he would tell a student weighing their options between a traditional high school and an early college high school, he said the choice was easy. Many schools like Timken Early College High School offer students their college credits at no additional cost to the student and their family.
“Taking advantage of the cost savings coupled with the great education you receive along with the expertise and knowledge of a wonderful and compassionate teaching staff is a recipe for success,” Paul said.
One lesson from Timken Early College High School that applies even now is, “If you work hard, it will be worth it!”
“I remind myself of that often,” said Paul. “Working hard, being compassionate and always heading toward your goals will reap many successes. I am now, and will always be, grateful to the teachers and staff at Timken Early College High School for inspiring me to do more, work harder and become a productive adult.”
Now that Paul is out of school, he is working as a professional artist. Each piece of art by Paul connects to his personal story.
“Within each of my pieces is a hidden image – the American Sign Language sign for “love,” he said. “Because I am profoundly deaf and my language is ASL, I felt it important to include a visual symbol within each piece that reflects the culture of which I am a part.”
You can learn more about Paul Hovan and see his artwork online and in different gallery shows across the country.