I Always Knew I Could…: Bayhill High School Success Story

Ruthe Ann Segol Garner graduated from Bayhill in 2009. She attended Western Oregon University where she majored in American Sign Language and minored in Special Education. This year, Ruthe Ann returned to Bayhill as an assistant teacher. She will be interning at Bayhill for her master’s in Special Education.

Why did you decide to come to Bayhill for high school?

I have Auditory processing difficulities as well as ADHD. My local high school was notorious for labeling students with learning disabilities as not able to learn and not on a track for a 4-year college. I wanted to go to college and I wanted the option to choose a 4-year college.

I was going to Raskob at the time and I did well with the smaller class size. I knew I couldn’t handle learning in a bigger environment. I needed small class size to be successful.

What did you like about Bayhill?

The community. It didn’t matter what grade you were in, we were all together. We were tight knit and close. No one was the odd man out, because we all had strengths and weaknesses. Bayhill was a place to feel comfortable. It was like a family.

Do you think you had a typical high school experience?

We didn’t have a homecoming which I thought I wanted, but I went with a friend to her homecoming game and I didn’t really like it. It was crowded and I realized I wasn’t missing out. At Bayhill we had prom which was all I really wanted.

What did you do after you graduated from Bayhill?

I went to Western Oregon University. It is small, about 5000 students. The school is two blocks wide and 4 block long. It’s pretty much the whole town and I liked that. It also had the best disabilities office. They helped me figure out how to be successful in college. The had an additional program where you could take special classes. In one class they taught us tools to be successful with college level course work, how to make a study schedule, which techniques were best and what help the campus had to offer. Another class taught me how to budget while in college.

I majored in American Sign Language studies and minored in Special Education. It was perfect for me, because it’s all visual and that’s how I learn best. Also, there were a number of deaf students at the college so many classes had an interpreter.

Note: Ruthe Ann made the Dean’s List every semester and graduated in three and half years!

What did you do after college?

I did an online interpreting course. I went to work for the school district I was in when I was a child. I interviewed with a woman who had told my mother I’d never go to college. The principal there had once said that special education students were the bottom of the totem pole. Of course, I really didn’t want to work there. After that,  I did in-home care for dementia patients and autistic people. Then I worked as an Autism Specialist and was able to use my sign language. Now, I’m going to start a masters program in mild/moderate special education at Saint Mary’s. I’ll be able to do my interning at Bayhill. This is the place I want to teach. I love seeing students be successful in high school and go off to college. I was that student. I know how great it feels. I want to be around that.

What advice do you have for current Bayhill students?

Do your work and listen to all of the techniques everyone gives you. Try them and see what works for you.