2006 Hall of Fame Nominee

Desiann (Desa) Dawson

Del City High School
Del City, OK
2006 Finalist from SWCOLT

“It is not enough to teach “about” another culture. To truly appreciate another way of life one must become proficient in the language of its people. Anyone who has lived among people of another culture and learned to speak the language can tell you the difference between “observing” and “experiencing” another lifestyle. This does not mean forsaking one’s own cultural ways, but it does allow us to see them in a different light and to develop deeper insights into our own way of doing things as well as that of others. We cannot be satisfied with exposure to language and culture. It takes prolonged study to develop the level of proficiency needed to communicate with ease and to participate in another society, or our own, in a culturally appropriate way. We must continue to work toward this goal.

In the pluralistic society of the United States, as well as in the global society into which we have been thrust, we must prepare ourselves to meet the challenge of an ever-changing world. We can choose to ignore people who differ from us, and risk being misunderstood by them, or embrace language and cultural study and welcome a world full of possibilities to explore. I will continue to devote my career to that end.”