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Fernanda’s Dream

Fernanda dressed like Catrina

By John Doherty

As an enthusiastic and energetic high school student at Escuela de Educación Especial de San Miguel de Allende, AC, Fernanda focuses most of her time on academic studies. However, several times each week, in the afternoons after class, she loves to participate in the school’s vocational training sewing workshop. It is there that her passion for art, design, and creating beautiful things is brought to the forefront.

Fernanda, who is profoundly deaf, dreams of a career in fashion or graphic design. To help express and record her designs, Fernanda keeps a journal with sketches of her latest ideas. True to her Mexican roots, one of her recent sketches was of a Catrina dressed in Frida Kahlo style.

From this sketch, Fernanda created her Catrina from paper mache, complete with hand-embroidered blouse and hand-painted skirt. Through a Mexican sign language interpreter, Fernanda explained, “I am so happy to win first prize in the school competition! It feels wonderful to be first!”

Later, Fernanda’s masterpiece was purchased by an avid school supporter and a collector of Catrinas. Fernanda has also been chosen by local author Leonora M. Cohen to create illustrations for her children’s books. You can imagine the pride and satisfaction that these recognitions have given to Fernanda!

To add to these achievements, last December the school held its 2nd Annual Christmas Craft Fair to showcase and sell the many wonderful products made by the older students in the carpentry, jewelry-making and sewing workshops. Fernanda joined her fellow students in creating many beautiful Christmas pillows, table runners, cross-stitched bags, and young children’s dresses. During the event, many shoppers were heard commenting on how the quality of this year’s creations had reached new levels of professionalism.

Fernanda, along with her fellow students, is encouraged by these votes of confidence. She ardently contends that she will continue to pursue her dream of a career in design. With the help of the teachers and volunteers at Escuela de Educación Especial there to guide and encourage her, and others, along their way, nothing will hold her back!

Please help keep Fernanda’s dream alive. Your support will provide an education to the deaf and hard-of-hearing children and young adults of San Miguel de Allende, enabling them to become literate, independent, and productive citizens who achieve life goals. Feel free to e-mail the school at for more information.


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