A remarkable student is often inspired by a remarkable teacher. While Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree (and one from Radcliffe College in 1904), she maintained a life-long friendship with her first teacher, Anne Sullivan -- a relationship which is described in Keller's autobiography, The Story of My Life.
Johanna Mansfield Sullivan (April 14, 1866 - October 20, 1936), was herself partially blind, having contracted trachoma at the age of five. After graduating as valedictorian at the age of twenty from the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts, Anne became Helen's teacher at the Kellers' home in Tuscania, Alabama. She began teaching seven-year-old Helen by spelling out favorite words in Helen's palm, then went on to numbers, and the Braille system.
Sullivan encouraged Helen to attend the Perkins' School and moved with her to Boston in 1888. Anne's protégée quickly became a model for extraordinary accomplishment in the education of persons with disabilities, as both Helen and Anne went on to receive national and international recognition from leading institutions and professional organizations.
The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.
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