PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Students at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf got a big surprise.

Well-known Deaf activist Nyle DiMarco made a visit to the school on Friday,

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It was for the school’s 150th-anniversary celebration.

(Photo Credit: Tim Lawson/KDKA)

Several people in Dimarco’s family are deaf, including himself.

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He spoke with KDKA through a sign-language interpreter.

“Oftentimes, people think that deaf people are sad,” DiMarco said. “And that we’ve all been raised with all these problems growing up. That actually wasn’t true for me at all. I grew up in an all-deaf family. I’m the fourth generation in my family — with over 25 other members — who are deaf as well.”

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Nyle DiMarco was the second male winner and first deaf winner of The CW’s American’s Next Top Model for season 22.