|For Immediate Release (01-70)
Date: December 14, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952; Dave
Montgomery College Professor
Chosen to Carry Olympic Torch
Professor of American Sign Language
Selected as Embodying Olympic Spirit
An American Sign Language Professor
at Montgomery College will briefly carry the hopes and dreams of a
world unified and happily competing, as he bears the Olympic flame
along his segment of the Olympic Torch Relay route on December 22.
Shortly after he finishes that
once-in-a-lifetime experience, Carl Schroeder will be learning about
the holiday wishes of hearing impaired kids as he switches to yet
another role, that of Signing Santa at a Northwest Washington
Schroeder, who has been teaching for
nearly a decade at Montgomery College, is one of 60 Washington area
individuals picked to bear the official flame of the 2002 Winter
Games in Salt Lake City because of their inspiring and positive
effect on their communities. Approximately 11,500 individuals have
been selected nationwide to be torchbearers, including 100 who will
represent the victims of the September 11th tragedy.
“I will be representing a wider
community, including not only Montgomery College and its ASL
program, but the deaf community and those who use American Sign
Language and work with deaf people,” said Schroeder, who is deaf. “I
am very honored to have this chance to help spread the Olympic
Spirit throughout this country.”
Schroeder says he was a high school
track star who dreamed of becoming an Olympian runner and competing
in the International Games for the Deaf. But a sprained ankle just
before the trials caused him to defer that dream until now, some 30
One of Schroeder’s students, Dana
Trageser-Cesler, nominated him for the torchbearer honor without his
knowledge. She said Schroeder has been a major influence since she
started earning a certificate in sign language at Montgomery
College’s Rockville campus. According to Trageser-Cesler, there was
just one issue with filling out the nomination forms last
MarchR014limiting her essay to the required 100 words.
“I have no problem bragging about
him; he is definitely an inspiration,” said Trageser-Cesler, a
Gaithersburg resident and a mother of two, who works for a medical
consulting firm on contract with NIH. “He has gotten me involved in
things I would never dream of doing. He makes everything
interesting and exciting.”
In addition to teaching American
Sign Language, Schroeder has been a strong advocate for its
dissemination and use among members of the hearing community. He
was the driving force behind Montgomery College establishing an
associate degree program in American Sign Language last fall.
Approximately 150 students are now enrolled in the College’s ASL
certificate and degree programs.
Each holiday season, Schroeder adds
helping children to his repertoire, communicating with deaf
youngsters about their holiday gift wishes as a Signing Santa at the
Mazza Galerie on Wisconsin Avenue.
The 13,500-mile Olympic Torch Relay
began December 4 in Atlanta, site of the 2000 summer Olympics, after
the Olympic flame was flown to the U.S. from the small town in
Greece where the games began. The relay will pass through 46 states,
including Alaska for the first time, and end in Salt Lake City on
February 8, opening day of the 2002 winter games.
The 33-inch-long silver and glass
Olympic torch will circulate in the Metropolitan Washington area
December 21 and 22. Schroeder will make his run of a lifetime along
a segment of the relay route that weaves through Washington’s Dupont
Circle area. His portion of the route will be two-tenths of a mile
or approximately one lap around an Olympic size track. Although the
actual experience will be brief, the honor will remain an
inspiration for a lifetime, according to Schroeder.
“For that moment, I will be the only
person in the vast universe to have this privilege (of carrying the
flame),” he stated.