How do you say “vacation” in American Sign Language (ASL)? Some Crown Point High School students could teach you.
Twice a month, students from the CPHS ASL Club meet to learn new signs and practice communicating via sign language. In October, students practiced signs for the Fall season, like colors, leaves, and wind - and they learned to sign that they have an upcoming vacation! Students also decorated pumpkins that represent ASL Club and put them on display in the high school courtyard.
The club is under new direction from Sarah Mayer, CPCSC’s Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, as well as Mindy Pearson, CPHS science teacher. The club has received an overwhelmingly positive response at CPHS, with more than 50 students attending the initial callout meeting.
Students said they joined the club because they felt it could help them connect with other people in their community. Junior student Alaina said she wants to learn ASL because “It’s good to know how to communicate with everyone.” Senior student Emily echoed this statement, and said she enjoys learning ASL and intends to continue when she heads to college next year.
For other students, ASL Club offered an opportunity that matches their own learning styles. “I’m a visual learner, and it’s a visual language,” says freshman student Emma. “It’s so different from learning a language like French or Spanish.” Fellow freshman Angeline agreed. “I like that it’s a non-vocal language. I wish we had this as a class.”
Beyond meeting after school twice a month, Pearson and Mayer are organizing ASL chat times at local coffee shops and building connections with the Deaf community. Pearson emphasizes that the club isn’t just for students who know how to sign, it’s open to everyone. “We want all students to feel a sense of belonging. We hope that this club encourages students to not just learn ASL, but also to embrace and interact with the Deaf community.”
Keep an eye out for the ASL Club’s community chats throughout the year. The first one will be held November 3rd from 3-5 p.m. at Fluid Coffee Roasters in Crown Point.