Hall of Fame



Anderson, Algot

Algot Anderson

Class of 1917

Student #2828 – 2018 Achievement Hall of Fame

Algot Anderson was born in Meriden, Connecticut, on October 20, 1897, and entered the American School for the Deaf in 1904 at age seven, graduating in 1917.  He loved to play football, basketball, and ice hockey.  In 1916, he became the first deaf person in Connecticut to receive a driver’s license. 

He served as the boys’ supervisor at ASD in 1919, resigning at the end of the year to devote more time for creative endeavors and play professional football and basketball.  He also organized two basketball teams, the famed Hartford Five and the New England Five.

He put his artistic talents to use and worked at the Hendel Company, decorating glass and parchment lampshades, and the Rockwell Silver Company, decorating china with precious metals.  Some of his outstanding work was hand painting on pure silk, depicting the Japanese people and Japan, all in lovely colors using Japanese brushes.  Emboldened by his success, he decided to go into business for himself, making lamps and lampshades in 1926.  His company quickly expanded, and he employed nine people. Unfortunately, the Wall Street crash in 1929 forced them to close, and Algot supported his family by using his carpentry skills building houses.

Continuing his passion for the arts, he returned to decorating china and glassware in 1939.  By the 1960s, Algot was well known for his work and asked by the Gallaudet College Alumni Association to create wares to sell for the Centennial Fund.  He produced many pieces, some featuring famous historical figures such as Alice Cogswell and Thomas H. Gallaudet and became swamped with large orders.

Algot was known as a kind and cheerful gentleman.  Among his many varied interests were beekeeping, growing an apple orchard, raising flowers, masonry, and writing poetry. He was also a member of many organizations, including the National Fraternal Society for the Deaf, the ASD Alumni Association of which he was president during the years 1934 – 1945, and the Silent Mission of St. James’s Church in West Hartford.  He continued to sell his wares at ASD and abroad until his death on October 3, 1970.

Backus, Levi Strong

Levi Strong Backus

Left in 1824

Student #9 – 2018 Achievement Hall of Fame


Levi Backus was born in Hebron, Connecticut, on June 23, 1803. He was the eldest son of Jabez Backus and Octa Strong. He was born deaf, as was his younger sister, Lucy Ann, who died in 1808 at age five months.  Levi was named for his grandfather, Levi Strong.


Levi became the ninth student to attend the Connecticut Asylum for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Persons on April 27, 1817, twelve days after the asylum opened for the first time, at age thirteen.  After graduation in 1824, he became the first male American-born Deaf teacher at the Central Asylum School for the Deaf and Dumb in the town of Buel, New York, when the school was established in 1823. The school hired him to teach sign language.


He married his former student, Ann Raymond Ormsby, in the same year that the village of Canajoharie, where he and his wife lived, was incorporated in 1829. They had two hearing children, but their son, Jabez, died at the age of fourteen years, and their daughter died in infancy.  Levi’s wife, Ann, was a classmate of Mary E. Wayland’s1, who married John Carlin, a well known deaf artist.


The New York State Legislature decided to close the school in 1836, and Levi’s thirty-three students transferred to the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, in New York City because the state couldn’t afford two deaf schools.


In 1837, Levi established a newspaper devoted to the deaf community and is widely considered the first deaf editor of America.  The masthead of the publication had fingerspelling inserted next to the newspaper’s title.  His success led to other deaf institutes beginning their papers, known as the Little Paper Family.  In later years he became a book publisher, printing a book on grammar (1858) and another of poetry (1861).


He died in Cherry Valley, New York, on March 17, 1869, and his burial is unknown.


1 Mary E. Wayland was the niece of William H. Seward, Governor of New York, later U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Denison, James

James Denison

Class of 1856

Student #898 – 2018 Achievement Hall of Fame


James Denison was born in Royalton, Vermont, on January 9, 1837, and educated at the American Asylum from 1846 – 1856.  After graduation, he taught at the Michigan Institution for the Deaf for a year.  His brother-in-law, Edward Miner Gallaudet, who married one of his hearing sisters, hired him to become the first deaf teacher at the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind, where he continued until his death.  He was also the first principal of the Kendall School for the Deaf, Washington, D.C. (1869-1909).  He served at the Kendall School for the Deaf for fifty-three years and received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1869 and awarded an honorary Ph.D. from George Washington University in 1860. 


James was the inventor of the Denison Fraction Scale, a contrivance for teaching fractions and wrote poetry.    He was also the editor of “The Silent World” for a year.  He felt that his best field was in teaching children, and he was successful in encouraging them to do their best.


He and Edward Miner Gallaudet were close friends.  Gallaudet married James’ hearing sister, Susan Skinner, after meeting her at James’ family home.


In 1880, James was the only Deaf delegate representing America at the first International Congress of Deaf Educators in Milan, Italy, along with his brother-in-law, Edward M. Gallaudet, and a few other American hearing delegates.  The Milan Conference declared that oral instruction was superior to manual education and passed a resolution banning the use of sign language in the teaching of the deaf.


He died on March 20, 1910, in Washington, D.C., and is buried at the North Royalton Cemetery with his wife Elizabeth “Lizzie.”


Demovick, James Frank

James Frank Demovick

Class of 1957

Student #3840 – 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame


James Frank Demovick was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT. While at ASD, he played for two years in each sport: football and wrestling. The main reason was that his parents did not want him to get hurt, but his coaches noticed that he was a good player and eventually changed their minds. 


Wrestling was introduced as a new sport in 1955, in which James decided to be a wrestler, even though his weight was 147 pounds. He made his first trip to Gallaudet College, with his coach David Halberg, as a participant in the wrestling tournament and was thrilled to meet many good wrestlers from different Deaf schools. In 1957 he and his team won the Wrestling Championship.  


As Co-Captain in the football team, James played halfback and fullback under the training of Coach Oscar Shirley.


Kolpa, Patricia "Patti" Claire

Patricia “Patti” Claire Kolpa

Class of 1970

Student #4307 – 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame


Patti’s exceptional athletic accomplishment at ASD was playing in the Women’s Basketball team for four years and was Captain for one year and Co-Captain for one year. She also played in the Women’s Softball team for four years. Also, she was the ASD cheerleader for the football team for four years and was Homecoming Queen.  


She firmly believed that ASD students should participate in multiple sports in the school, which allowed greater exposure to build their self-esteem and confidence. 


Lynch, Charles Larkin

Charles Larkin Lynch

Class of 1973

Student #4844 – 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame


Charles came to ASD from North Carolina in 1966, where he played all varsity sports for four years. He played as a halfback in the football team and made over 1,000 rushing yards in 1971-72. Charles won the Deaf Football National Championship with his team in 1972 and earned the MVP Award. In wrestling, he played for seven years, and due to his weight, he was fit to play against his opponents. For four years, he also played in Track & Field. He was selected as ASD’s Athlete of the Year.

Walla, Albert Anthony Jr.

Albert Anthony Walla Jr.

Class of 1970

Student #5917 – 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame


As a student at ASD, Albert’s main athletic interest was swimming, which he swam every day in the pool.    In his sophomore year, he participated in the Berkeley Tryout and earned nine medals. After graduation from ASD, he attended the Deaf Olympic Events twice in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1969, and Malmo, Sweden in 1973, receiving nine medals in both tournaments. He became one of the greatest Deaf swimmers of the 1970s.  


Albert joined the RIT Swim Team after graduating from ASD in 1970, in which the team won second place in the State Championship with a perfect 16-0 record. Then, he was transferred to Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University), where he broke the records every time he swam. 


He received two Hall of Fame awards from Gallaudet College in 2012 and RIT in 2015. He retired from teaching deaf and hearing students for 44 years in June 2018. He is currently living in Minnesota and is involved with different organizations as an activist and active CDI. He has two sons, a daughter, and a beloved grandson.



Whitney, Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn Whitney (m. Duhon)

Class of 1995

Student #5985 – 2018 Athletic Hall of Fame


Jessica was mainstreamed to ASD from Massachusetts and was a student for five years: 1990-1995. She excelled in all three sports: basketball, volleyball, and track. Jessica played for four years in basketball, winning the ESDAA Championship in 1993, and was the first female player to get over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in the New England Private School All-Star game. She was Captain of the basketball team for two years.


In volleyball, she also played for four years and was Captain of the team for one year. The team won both the ESDAA and National Championships in 1994. 


Jessica excelled in Track & Field, in which she played for four years in the team and was Captain of the team for four years. She still holds the record for 4X100 meters (1994) and 4X400 meters (1992) in the All-Star State Meet, which she has held for many years. 


She received many awards for excellence in all sports (All-Star and MVP) and was inducted into the first New England Basketball Hall of Fame. All the awards and honors that she received were because the coaches and school had taught her determination and perseverance.





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Louis Rivas, Ex 1974 – Chair
Alexandra “Sandra” McGee, 1973 – Committee
Mark Hughey, 1976 – Committee
Alan Stein, 1958 – Committee
Donald LaRoche, 1961 – Committee


Jeanne Magnon, 1972 – Co-Chair
Danny Biskupiak, 1979 – Co-Chair


Mike Rose, 1978 – Committee
Charlene Trumpetto, 1970 – Committee

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