Deaf student uses college to build confidence, build for future in architecture 

Graduating Adolfo Reyes JR is well-known amongst Texas Southmost College students, faculty, staff, and the community in his circle. They know him as confident and sociable, able to lead despite his obvious challenges. Adolfo Reyes JR is deaf, but that has never stopped him from accomplishing the goals he sets for himself.  


He will walk across the stage on May 13th at Jacob Brown Auditorium as a Texas Southmost College Graduate. His next steps include enrolling at Texas Tech University in Lubbock to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. He aims to earn a Master of Architecture. And although he makes it seem easy, his story comes with challenging moments and life lessons.   


Because he was born without the ability to hear into a family that could, he has always worked hard to understand and be understood, showing who he is inside has always been a challenge.  

Reyes learned sign language relatively late in childhood when he entered school at age 5. But despite a “late start” learning the language he communicates with, he did his best to catch up.   


After attending elementary and middle school in Brownsville, his family moved to Nebraska. This allowed them to pursue better opportunities for Adolfo to learn sign language and connect with deaf culture. The move resulted in the confident and social Adolfo Reyes JR that TSC students and staff know today.   

“When I started at TSC in 2019, I thought college was all about going to class, doing homework, and then going home,” he said. “But then I realized college can be much more than that. I started to experience college life by attending events and meeting new people, who I would often teach ASL. TSC provided me with a well-rounded college experience.”  


One person who may have had the most substantial impact on Reyes is Texas Southmost College Sign Language Interpreter Frank Slovak. They are often seen together because Slovak serves as an interpreter for Reyes in classes and at events. 


“When I was an Egly elementary school student, I met Frank,” Reyes said. “He started interpreting for me, and after a short time, he transferred to TSC. Time passed by, and we saw each other again when I started attending TSC. Since he was my interpreter, I asked him to be my interpreter for every class because we understand each other.”  


Slovak shared his experience working with Adolfo and the growth he has seen him accomplish at Texas Southmost College.  

“I have witnessed Adolfo’s exponential growth while at TSC. With Adolfo, it’s never been, ‘I can’t do that’; it’s always been, ‘How can I do that.’ He is charismatic and a proud Deaf individual, which has shaped his life outlook,” Slovak said. “He comes from a humble family who is extremely supportive in his endeavors to succeed. He has met many people on his journey at TSC, and some have reached the status of lifelong friends. The TSC experience is there for the taking, and Adolfo has made the most of his.”  



Along with being the first deaf student crowned as Bougainvillea King at TSC, Adolfo’s lasting legacy was founding the ASL Club. The club started in 2021 and can now proudly say it’s the largest club on campus, with students, both deaf and hearing, coming together to learn the language, socialize and interact.   


“When I was around an event or classroom, students kept asking me, ‘What is the sign for X word’? I answered and taught them until someone asked me if we have an ASL club on campus,” Reyes said. “That person made me realize….no we don’t, and we should. Why don’t we change that? More and more people started to attend our ASL Club meetings, and members started learning both the language and about deaf and hard of hearing culture.”   


Adolfo Reyes Jr. exemplifies what it means to be a Scorpion and his experience shows how TSC can impact the lives of students and staff alike. 

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