Posted Date: 05/05/2021
Lawson Pair is In The Spotlight
Lawson was born in Seminole, OK but ultimately grew up in Shreveport, LA.
Lawson was born hearing, but at the age of 6 years old he came down with spinal meningitis which affected his hearing. He has a unique experience of remembering his hearing loss taking place rather quickly. He remembers watching TV and needing to turn up the volume because it kept getting quiet. His mom came in and noticed that the TV volume was extremely loud so she began to investigate. She began to say different prehistoric animals to gauge his level of hearing. The last words he remembers hearing and understanding were “Sabertooth Tiger”.
Lawson entered the 2nd grade as a deaf student and by the 3rd grade, he lost his speech and didn’t know if he would ever get it back. By the end of the 3rd grade Lawson was emotionally struggling and was placed in a multihandicapped school. He realized quickly though that it was not the place for him, so his parents found a speech teacher at another school across town and he went there from 4th to 6th grade. The grades of 4th - 6th were good times for Lawson. He was happy, made friends at school, and joined the baseball team. Lawson’s dad built a pitcher’s mound in the backyard and that’s where he learned to pitch, throwing to his dad.
Lawson had very good family relationships and credits his ability in regaining his speech mostly to his mother. Lawson recalls the two of them practicing speech every night with a funnel and rubber tube that went into his ear. He practiced recognizing different vibrations and low pitched sounds and saw his speech improve.
Upon entering the 7th grade, Lawson had to move back to his own school district. Losing his friends from his old school was tough. Playing sports, fishing, and just fooling around with his brother, Adam and his dad, C.G. Pair, were his main social outlets.
“I can’t overemphasize how important my family, my mom June Pair, my brother and my dad were to me growing up. I’m blessed to have them as my family.”
Lawson did not identify as Deaf at the time and never sought out other Deaf individuals or kids like himself. In fact he did not meet another Deaf person until he was 19 years old.
When Lawson graduated from high school he accepted a baseball scholarship to a junior college where he would graduate from 2 years later. After graduating, Lawson didn’t know what was next for him. He had received baseball scholarships from other universities but ultimately decided to go to Gallaudet University to “find” himself as a Deaf person.
So Lawson packed his bags and flew to Washington D.C. Lawson’s dad called the baseball coach at Gallaudet and Lawson ended up joining the team. He was shocked when he stepped foot on Gallaudet’s campus and saw the access to language and communication taking place. Once on campus, Lawson began taking ASL classes but ultimately picked up the language by interacting with people just like him. He finally fit in.
Lawson finished up his time at Gallaudet University with a degree in Psychology and was later inducted into their Hall of Fame for baseball in 1998. Lawson led Division III colleges nationally in strikeouts. He received letters from both the LA Dodgers and NY Yankees to come play baseball, but a shoulder injury prevented him from giving it a try.
After graduating with a M.ED from Kent State University, Lawson had a few different jobs, some of which were working in mainstream school systems for 6 years. In 1992, Lawson decided to move back to Oklahoma and applied to work at OSD. He was hired on as a math teacher and met his wife of the past 25 years, Deb Ulery, on his first day of work.
“I loved her from day one! It took a bit longer for me to get her feeling the same way.”
“ I’m also blessed with 2 daughters, Marla Gracias and Hartlee Abraham, and 2 sons, David Pair and Colin Larkins.”
Lawson taught math and science during most of his time at OSD, later becoming the BMITE vocational teacher. He also coached football for 28 years, golf for 5 years, and was an Academic Team sponsor for 11 years.
Lawson says, “OSD has been a great place to work for me! Not only have I had the privilege to teach so many great young students, but also the people here have been like another family to me.”
One of Lawson’s favorite things about being at OSD has been seeing former students become co-workers. He’s seen Kelsey Jones, Kara Floyd, Shane Jenkins, Va’Lecia Penney, Jason Sledd (who was his first quarterback), and others change roles from students to friends and fellow staff members.
After 29 years at OSD, Lawson is retiring. He does not have any particular plans on how he will spend his retirement. However, he is open to trying new things and enjoying some of the things he has always loved like fishing, golf, and riding his motorcycle.
“My time here at OSD has flown by. Probably because it didn’t feel like my job. It was my life. I would do it all over again.”
OSD thanks you Lawson, for all of your years of service. You have poured into this school and we cannot thank you enough.
Good luck in retirement and enjoy yourself. You deserve it!