Apple CEO, Nyle DiMarco Visit Deaf Students in Fremont, Discuss Tech and Accessibility

Students at California School For The Deaf's 91-acre Fremont campus were taught how to program a drone to fly using Apple's coding programming language

Actor, model and activist for the Deaf community Nyle DiMarco along with Apple's CEO Tim Cook suprised deaf students in Fremont Thursday morning to discuss technology and how it can help kids with disabilities.

Students at California School For The Deaf's 91-acre Fremont campus were taught how to program a drone to fly using Apple's coding programming language, Swift. 

The visit coincides with Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 17 and Apple says it's working with CSD and schools across the country to bring accessible coding to students with disability using Apple's "Every One Can Code" curricula.

"Apple’s mission is to make products as accessible as possible," Cook said.

California School for the Deaf superintendent Clark Brooke said, "We’re thrilled to kick off the partnership with Apple. This program is a great way to bring to life the ideas and imagination of our Deaf students through coding, while also building a foundation for future careers in software development and technology."

DiMarco, the first deaf person to win America's Next Top Model, talked to students and were interviewed by the school's Talon News.

"From my perspective as a deaf person, I encourage people to learn code. It's gonna make them tri-lingual. They'll know english, ASL and coding," DiMarco signed in ASL.

DiMarco is also the signer and advocate for The ASL app — a mobile application that teaches the American Sign Language.

Many of the students were wearing black and orange because Thursdays at the school are "Orange and Black days" where kids and faculty show school spirit and deaf pride.

One student, Zahra Chauhan, said that the visit really motivated the students. Having someone to look up to like DiMarco, "It makes us feel like we can do anything," Chauhan said.

CSD has approximately 400 students from age 3 to 21 years old, according to the school. Deaf students from 46 counties in Northern California who meet the eligibility criteria and are referred by their local school district may attend CSD.

NBC Bay Area's tech reporter Scott Budman contributed to this report.

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