Lunch, everyone’s favorite time during the school day. Everyday, hundreds of students are greeted by our friendly Riverbend cafeteria staff as they buy meals through the lunch line. One of these welcoming faces you may have encountered is Ms. Marie Morris. Morris has been a member of the Riverbend staff for 15 years and greets each student at lunch with a warm smile and a head nod. Though many may not realize, Morris has been deaf her whole life and the way she communicates is through sign language. “Everybody at Riverbend is good and it’s exciting to meet others who are able to sign and communicate with me,” said Morris.
Morris has proven to have a far-reaching impact on Riverbend students and staff. Cafeteria staff member Ms. Carrie Leake said, “She knows sign language, she can read lips, and some people feel more comfortable around her, especially when we serve the special needs kids. Some of them can communicate with her, and she makes them feel welcomed.” Although the communication barrier can make her job difficult, Morris always maintains a positive attitude through adversity. “It can be very difficult to talk to people sometimes,” said Morris. “Instead of signing to people, I’ll have to write it instead, but people work really well with me, so I don’t feel different at work.”
Having a deaf coworker does not seem to have any negative effect on the Riverbend staff. “She’s amazing, and when she communicates with people she takes her time and has lots of patience,” said cafeteria staff member Ms. Tracie Ricard. “Every moment with her is memorable. She’s just that special.” Morris has demonstrated to those at Riverbend and to her community that having a disability does not stop her from influencing the lives of others. Morris’ positive attitude and friendly heart will always have an everlasting effect on the students and teachers, here, at Riverbend.