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Former Miss Deaf Texas remembered

March 3, 2007

Updated: 3/2/2007 9:54 AM
By: Veronica Castelo


Chris Kearney is a student at The Texas School for the Deaf. Next year he plans to attend Gallaudet University in Washington D.C., a premier liberal arts university for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Kearney is at the top of his class. He wants to major in business administration in college. The academics don’t worry him but paying for the education does.

“One of my biggest challenges is going to be financial aid
and financial support. Right now I’m working on scholarships to
cover up some of the gaps,” Kearney signed.

Students like Kearney have one more option thanks to a girl who
made quite an impression at last year’s Celebrate Texas Independence Day parade.

Parade organizer Marsha Johnson said 18-year old Tara McAvoy instantly won over the hearts of those involved in the parade.

“She was so thankful to be in the parade. She was one of those people that you just endear yourself to,” Johnson said.

At the time, McAvoy was Miss Deaf Texas. On March 13, 2006, days after she participated in the parade, she was hit by a train while walking alongside tracks in South Austin and killed.

“We just felt so bad we decided to dedicate a memorial scholarship for her,” Johnson said.

For the second year in a row, the $1,000 scholarship will be given to a deaf student in May.

Karen Henry is a counselor at the Texas School for the Deaf and is in charge of the committee tasked with picking the right student.

“We got this scholarship from Celebrate Texas and it was
extremely touching,” she said. “Tara was very active, actively
involved in the school, so we pick a student who has outstanding
leadership skills and is congenial and has a high GPA,” Henry said.

Henry said it’s a tough decision to make, but one she treasures.

“We get to remember her year to year and this goes on year to year so we get to keep the name alive,” she said.

(Note: see the video of Miss Deaf Texas and Texas School for the Deaf, click here: http://www.news8austin.com/shared/video/video_pop.asp?destlist=41471 )