Toby Fitch

"My future is coming into focus," says Toby Fitch, a third-year student majoring in New Media Design in RIT's College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. "I'd like to own my own design studio in photo, multimedia design and animation, or else work for a developing company that has the potential to become big and successful."

Fitch's entrepreneurial bent fits perfectly with his self-described over-achiever personality, and his penchant for trying new things.

Trying new things is what brought him to RIT when, as a high school student, he entered and won RIT's Digital Arts, Film and Animation Competition for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students, and came to campus to receive his award.

"I didn't know much about RIT/NTID when I arrived here, but the people were so nice, the campus was great, and when I learned about the variety of majors, I was sold," says Fitch.

Carrying a 3.8 GPA, Fitch spends an average of 20 hours per week doing homework, works part-time in the NTID Admissions Department, and is part of a peer tutoring program in English. And the rest of the time he plays—and thinks about playing—soccer.

Coming from an all deaf family, where his mother is a physical education teacher, Fitch says sports were a tradition. He ran track, and played basketball, baseball and soccer in high school in Zanesville, Ohio, but soccer was where he really felt he belonged.

"I watch, play, live, eat and breathe soccer," says Fitch.

His considerable skills have allowed him to be involved with soccer internationally. He played competitively for the U.S. Deaf Men's Soccer Team in England, the First World Deaf Football Championships in Greece, and the Taiwan Summer Deaflympics Games.

Despite his ambitious post-graduate plans, Fitch can see coaching soccer in his future as well.

"I'll always be involved with soccer in some way," he says. "The teams have a brotherly, family feeling. Soccer is my family."

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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