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Sign of the times

Students start club to spawn support, inclusivity for deaf community
Sign+of+the+times

A language where hands talk instead of mouths. Where ears do not hear but eyes do. As the world becomes more inclusive, American Sign Language is an important way to connect with other people. Junior Sophia Perez is raising compassion and creating inclusion for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Sophia has been interested in ASL for a long time as she has been inspired by her mother’s work.

“I’ve always wanted to learn ASL since my mom used to work in special education, and they would use sign language a lot,” Sophia said. “I wanted to learn so I could talk to them. I started an ASL club in middle school, and I had a lot of fun with it, so I figured I’d start one here because there aren’t any ASL classes.”

Club sponsor Abby Scoresby sees the club as an important way to build an understanding of other communities.

“I think it’s really important to raise awareness about different types of minorities,” Scoresby said. “We often think of people of color as minorities, but there are also disabilities such as those within the deaf community who experience challenges. I think it’s cool to see a group of students who care about this and who want to learn another language so that they can communicate with more people.” 

Scoresby thinks Sophia is a strong leader and has been instrumental in leading the club.

“Sophia has taken charge of the club,” Scoresby said. “She’s a great leader and has plans to help the club continue to grow.”

Although Sophia enjoys leading the club, her role can be stressful.

“I have to be on my toes a little bit with the reminders,” Sophia said. “I have to stay on task, and it’s helped me learn to make my own connections because I have to talk to people.”

Despite its stressful challenges, Sophia enjoys leading the club because she enjoys the support she gets from the members.  

“The best part of the club is the people,” Sophia said. “They’re so sweet, and just the fact that they show up every week makes me feel like I’m making an impact. “Knowing that I had people in my corner who want to join the club that I started makes me feel good.”

Sophomore Jovanny Martinez has participated in the club since it started because he wanted to learn to talk to his deaf cousin. 

“Getting to learn new things, new sign language, and hand movements is my favorite part,” Jovanny said. “The hardest part is trying to remember everything because you can easily get confused and have to use facial expressions to convey tone.”

Sophomore Maggie Richter has also enjoyed participating in the club.

“I joined the club because I wanted to learn more about sign language and communication,” Maggie said. “The best part of the club is talking about opportunities we have coming up for volunteering and learning new ASL signs.”

Sophia has noticed the impact on the other kids and thinks she is doing something important with her club.

“I think the other kids are pretty inspired,” Sophia said. “I think it’s something new that the school needed. I feel like the kids are positively impacted by their participation.” 

For Maggie, participating in the ASL club has been important in teaching her the importance of inclusion.

“I’ve learned that it’s not hard to reach out and that you should if you can,” Maggie said. “It’s always good to include others no matter who they are or how different they may be.”

Sophia wants to continue her ASL knowledge and can see it benefitting her in the future.

“I want to take ASL classes in college, and I want to get more involved with it,” Sophia said. “I want to become a therapist, and I could get people that are hard of hearing or deaf. This experience will help me talk”

Scoresby has enjoyed watching students learn in a different setting.

“I always love working with my students when they’re not in academic settings, and seeing a different side to them,” Scoresby said. “It’s fun to see them where they’re comfortable.”

Sophia encourages everyone to check out the club and learn something new.

“Everyone should come by,” Sophia said. “We’re currently working on trying to volunteer with the Special Olympics and are learning the national anthem, so everyone should check it out.”

The ASL club meets in room 5217 on Thursday mornings from 7:45-8:10. 

 

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Samantha Lamb, Staff Writer
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