The Transylvania Times -

McCarson To Teach ASL To Change Lives

Connestee Falls Scholarships


August 8, 2019

During her first year at Blue Ridge Community College, Katelyn McCarson, a 2017 graduate of Brevard High School, had to choose a foreign language to meet one of her freshman requirements. Her decision was a fateful one; she chose American Sign Language (ASL). That decision has changed her life.

McCarson has known for a few years that she wanted to be a teacher. For her senior project at Brevard High, she taught fourth grade at Brevard Elementary School and fell in love with teaching. Then, as she learned ASL at Blue Ridge, she realized that she wanted to teach the deaf. She is now taking her fourth ASL course and working on becoming fluent in signing.

McCarson has become an accepted member of the deaf and hard of hearing community in Western North Carolina, traveling frequently to the Western North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton and to Greenville to attend events and socialize. She also attends events in the deaf community in Asheville. The inter-preting class she took, which focused on the deaf community, opened her eyes to the culture, which she has found warm and welcoming. She is eloquent when sharing her broad knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the culture.

McCarson is a two-time recipient of a Connestee Falls scholarship. She applied for her first scholarship with the help of her counselors at Brevard High and received her second through Blue Ridge. When she finishes at Blue Ridge, she intends to transfer to Western Carolina University, which has an excellent education program, or to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which has a specific major in deaf education.

The McCarson family has deep roots in Western North Carolina. Her parents are both from Hendersonville, and Katelyn was born there but moved to Brevard at the age of 5. She will be the first in her family to obtain a college degree. She realizes that it will be difficult to leave the large family support group she has here in Western North Carolina to continue her education, but she is committed to completing her degree in her chosen field. She speaks lovingly and admiringly of her parents, Stephen and Shelley, who have both worked tirelessly to provide for Katelyn, her older sister Ashley and her younger brother Jeremiah, who is in sixth grade at Brevard Elementary School. Though neither Stephen nor Shelley attended college, both have taken courses to advance their careers – Stephen to become an electrician and Shelley to help her advance at Blue Ridge Community Health Center, where she works as a receptionist.

McCarson keeps busy not only handling her full-time course load but also working at a distribution facility for JCrew. In her free time, in addition to attending social events in the deaf community, she likes to paint and sketch, to walk and hike with the family dog, and to garden indoors.

Asked what message she would like to convey to Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program donors and volunteers, she said, “I know sometimes you don’t get to experience firsthand the difference the Scholarship Program makes, but it really has an impact. I couldn’t be more thankful!”

For more information about the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program and to donate securely online, visit


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