50-Year Old Deaf mother of 2 graduates from UNC-Charlotte 1 year early

A North Carolina woman of two who is hearing-impaired recently graduated a year early despite facing several obstacles. 50-year-old Michele Randolph graduated from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. “I worked really hard for this; I worked really hard,” Randolph told ABC 11 News. Randolph lost her ability to hear when she was 12-year-old but didn’t let this stop her from living her life. She would later get married and have two children.

“I basically raised both of my children while deaf. My oldest one had to grow up fast; she basically did all the doctor phone calls, everything for mommy,” she said.

The graduates youngest daughter was born prematurely, had cerebral palsy, autism, and a severe brain injury. Randolph said seeing her served as an inspiration for her to get through her schooling. Randolph underwent a cochlear implant and hear her children for the first time in 2019.

“When they activated me and I could hear their voices, I was amazed that how I imagined them to talk was actually how they spoke,” Randolph said. “It was just amazing. It was like a lightbulb clicked for me, and I knew then there was nothing, nothing anymore that I could not do.”

Things were going good for Randolph until she lost her grandmother and her husband after a few months. Randolph had to undergo emergency surgery to repair a gallbladder operation gone wrong. However, she was still determined to overcome everything and receive her degree.

“Sunshine after the rain: It felt good to be able to hear my name called.”

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