Renaming “47” School Lobby as Yola Walker Lobby – May/June 2016

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Memorial Service
The Dwyer Cultural Center
258 St. Nicholas Avenue
New York, New York 10022

Eulogy by Dorothy Cohler

Yola Walker served as at “47” The American Sign Language and English Secondary School assistant principal from 1996 to 2010.  When I was at “47” as a teacher and even as a retired teacher, I would always see her engaged with students in serious conversations.  In the main floor hallway, there are two benches where she would often sit when conversing with students. That wasn’t the only place, though; she always was with students in the lunchroom, and her office. She had great interest in her students’ well-being.

During the 2007 graduation, she gave a warm speech recalling her special moments with students, guiding them into the bright future. Yola then returned as a special guest at the 2011 graduation. Students were so happy to see her and surrounded her with a big hug.  The students, especially, will never forget her kindness, her caring and most important of all, her love.

Yola also had a good rapport with the teachers and was friendly to everyone on the staff including lunchroom employees, secretaries, aides, to school guards.

Ken Mortensen, Betty Kasher and I are here on behalf of the “47” Alumni Association of the Deaf, and represent others who weren’t able to attend today. We were pleased to give her the Achievement Award in 2003 for her dedication to her profession.  Although it is with great sorrow we are today, it is also with great fondness that we remember Yola’s love, kind heart, and passion for her students and everyone at school. Rest in peace, Yola.


YWalkerportraitPortrait of Yola Walker

By Artist Anthony Andujar Jr. ‘2013

I don’t know what to say. But Assistant Principal Yola Walker was the professor X to my youth. She was a voice of reason to a lot of my fellow friends and classmates from American Sign Language and English Elementary, middle school and high school. She was definitely a guiding hand to a lot of us and especially to me. She emphasized heavily on the family aspect even though I wasn’t so big on it. But she convinced me regardless. When she retired from the school, it was a bit empty without her. But to wake up and hear about someone you know who had a critical impact to a large sum of your life is hard to comprehend.

Rest in peace. I hope you find the sort of unity that you always instilled in your students. You always had a strong sense of optimism and duty amongst the teachers, staff, faculty and students both Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing. Death is almost as hard to comprehend as life itself.  I remember when I made this piece for her back in 2009/2010 when she retired.


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Page last updated: March 25, 2016