Ayisha Knight

Freelance Artist, Actress, Photographer and Poet
2005 Recipient


Although it was difficult being the only Deaf student in a mainstream college program, Ayisha is proud that she earned a degree in Theater Arts.  She is now a freelance artist who works all over the world.  She appreciates her independence and enjoys helping students with their acting skills as well as meeting Deaf people wherever she goes.  She is most proud of being the first Deaf person to appear on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and feels it was a great opportunity to share her poetry as a role model for other Deaf poets.



Ayisha’s biggest challenge is to teach people that they should not assume she cannot do something just because she is Deaf, black, and Jewish.  When people look at her and make assumptions about her abilities, she encourages them to meet her, speak with her, get to know her, and then decide if she can or cannot do a specific task.

Advice to Horace Mann Students

“People will try to tell you that you cannot do something, but tell them that you can.  Learn from others who share your dreams and ambition so that you will be ready to accept the responsibility when other people look up to you.”


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