Miss Vidalia passionate about help others communicate

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SAM GAUSE/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Tracee Albert and her mother Idella Albert sign to each other in sign language. Both of Albert’s parents, Idella and Charles Sr., are deaf. Albert views English as her second language because she learned it after learning to sign. She hopes to study speech-language pathology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in hopes to open a school to help others learn sign language.

SAM GAUSE/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Tracee Albert and her mother Idella Albert sign to each other in sign language. Both of Albert’s parents, Idella and Charles Sr., are deaf. Albert views English as her second language because she learned it after learning to sign. She hopes to study speech-language pathology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe in hopes to open a school to help others learn sign language.

When Tracee Albert reads the signs in her life, they all point in one direction.

She wants to one day open a school aimed at helping others learn something that came naturally for her — sign language.

Albert, a senior at Vidalia High School, plans to head to the University of Louisiana at Monroe soon to major in speech-language pathology.

Both of Albert’s parents — Idella and Charles Albert Sr. — are deaf, and Tracee learned to sign from birth.

Now, she wants to help others who can hear better communicate with those who can’t.

“Since my parents are deaf, it’s just the easier route for me to go,” Albert said. “Since I already know how to do sign language, I’m more passionate about that than anything else.”

Albert, 17, recently added another title to her high school resume, though, making a little history along the way.

Tracee Albert walks down the runway after being named Miss Vidalia at the annual Vidalia Women’s Club pageant.

Tracee Albert walks down the runway after being named Miss Vidalia at the annual Vidalia Women’s Club pageant.

In February, she was crowned Miss Vidalia at the Vidalia Women’s Club’s annual pageant.

She is the first black teen to take the title.

After being crowned, Albert said the thought of not only winning, but also being the first black female to claim the title did not immediately sink in.

“I thought that I was, but I wasn’t sure,” Albert said. “That’s a big role I have to take.

“After I realized it I started crying. But I went home and sat on my bed and asked my self ‘is this real.’ I couldn’t thank God enough.”

Albert said she prays every night to be a good Christian role model for younger girls.

Albert is definitely a role model already, her Vidalia Women’s Club pageant sponsor Vanessa Houck said.

“She’s a people person and cares about others,” Houck said. “(Tracee) is very respectful and has the spirit to encourage others. She’s a beautiful girl outside, but it’s her inside that makes her beautiful to me.”

At VHS, Albert has been a cheerleader since her freshman year and participated with the school’s Beta Club, student council and gifted and talented arts program. She also sings at school events and maintains a 3.6 GPA.

She’s passionate about music too and plays the guitar, writes music and acts in her church programs.

VHS English II teacher Ollie King said Albert has always been a joy to teach.

“She’s always ready for the next step,” King said. “(Tracee) has always been a student that went down her own path and not followed the crowd. She sets goals and she works toward them.”

That’s the same attitude Albert plans to apply to her dreams of teaching sign language to others. She said she feels poised to help others learn.

“My sign language skills got better over the years,” Albert said. “It was different because I thought my life was normal, but when I went to visit a friend I realized my life wasn’t normal.”

Albert said her parents are proud of her decision, and that makes her happy.

“I want to honor them any way I can,” Albert said.