Meet Those Who Teach at NGHE!

Featuring NGHE's Language Instructors

Brenda O'Keefe- American Sign Language

Raised bilingual by deaf parents who began teaching her to sign before she could talk. Though her parents taught her to sign, as a young adult she became a student of American Sign Language, which lead to achieving an interpreter certification and a wide range of interpreting experiences in a variety of settings, including: medical, church, school, and theatre.

ASL has been a lifelong passion that she considers a privilege to share with her students. Over the years she has taught many people including her own children. Some of her students, through their hard work and perseverance, have become nationally certified interpreters.It is easy to see that she believes learning ASL should be fun and interactive! In her classroom, students will get to know their classmates while participating in engaging group activities such as playing games, singing in signs, and practicing conversational skills with one another. In addition to learning vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure, students will also learn about the history and culture surrounding the Deaf people and their language. All these activities allow students to develop the skills needed to carry on basic conversations with deaf people. To say that the Deaf people and their language are dear to her would be an understatement. It is her hope that by sharing the fascinating language and culture of the Deaf people her student’s lives will be enriched as hers has been, and that in some small way she will have bridged the gap between the deaf and hearing worlds.

Brenda has been married for 30 years to Dennis O’Keefe and together they have six wonderful children, three boys and three girls. In the early years of her marriage she had a career with IBM, but she decided to dedicate herself to being a homeschool mom instead. It has been a challenging and rewarding adventure for her and her family. Her oldest two sons graduated college as aircraft mechanics. Her youngest son is currently earning a degree in Computer Science. Her oldest daughter hopes to become a certified sign language interpreter, but is currently working in the technical world at NCR. At this point, Brenda considers it a breeze to be homeschooling only her two youngest daughters. Her two oldest sons have married and six months ago the eldest and his wife were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. Brenda loves being a grandmother. (Just ask her for pictures. I dare you.)

Roquel Torres- Spanish

The Spanish Level I Instructor at NGHE. This is her first year with NGHE. Profesora Raquel is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast where she attended elementary and high school. She fell in love with the Spanish language at an early age and has worked to learn it ever since.

She is a 1994 graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis where she earned a double major in Spanish and Psychology. She spent the first half of her career working on trading floors at various international banks in New York City. In 2006, she and her family moved to Atlanta where she joined the Global Marketing team at The Coca-Cola Company until she left to be a full time mom in 2013. Raquel is married to Andres Torres, the electronics/robotics instructor at NGHE, and they have two teenaged sons, Matthew (16), a sophomore at Forsyth Central High School and soon to be homeschooler and Daniel (14), an eighth grader who is homechooled through Freedom Project Academy and one beloved Chihuahua named Rico.

Raquel loves being a part of the body of Christ through her Calvary Chapel Alpharetta family and NGHE, spending time with her family and travelling especially to visit family in her beloved, adopted homeland of Puerto Rico.