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Virginia School for the Deaf & Blind Celebrates Expansion

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The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind is celebrating the Staunton campus's largest expansion in more than a century. Alumni, staff, and families gathered Saturday afternoon to dedicate a dorm to the two men who give the new Houser-Tyler Hall its name.

"He always found a way to do something that people said he couldn't do," said Donald Houser, Ray Houser's son.

Houser remembers his father - Ray's - persistence.

"Being visually impaired, they said he would never drive a car. He drove a car. They said he couldn't be on the radio. He was on the radio," said Houser.  

Wilbert Tyler's daughter reflects on her dad's passion for teaching.  

"He never used his vacation, he never called in sick. I don't think I ever remember him staying home sick. It was just a job he loved," said Terry Tyler Collins.

All of the Houser and Tyler children returned to the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton Saturday to talk about their fathers' legacies and tour the new dorm named in their honor.

"What I heard in the nominations that people sent forward were just accolade after accolade about these two men and what they meant to the school, what they meant to individuals," said Virgil Cook, member of the VSBD Board of Visitors.

The building will house blind students.

Its dedication also marked the end of a four-year project, which consolidated all of Virginia's Deaf and Blind students on to the Staunton campus. The expansion was the first of its kind since the school was built in 1839.

"We've combined deaf and blind students in the same buildings - not in the same classrooms per se - but in the same buildings. We're one in the nation that's doing that," said Nancy Armstrong, VSBD superintendent. 

It's a unique school with special people - all celebrated on a fitting weekend.

"This is a great Father's Day present," said Collins.  

"Just about the most perfect Father's Day present you can have," said Houser.     

This is also the school's alumni reunions weekend. People spent the day touring the new dorm and other buildings that were renovated in the consolidation project.

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