American Sign Language Club


Giselle Potter

From New York Times article, “My Deaf Son Fought Speech. Sign Language Let Him Bloom.”

As many students know, Cherokee High School offers a variety of classes that introduce students to languages used around the world. These courses, such as German, Latin, French and Spanish, not only teach students about the grammar and usage of these language, but also teach the culture, structure, and lifestyles involved with these languages. However, there is one that isn’t taught here at Cherokee – sign language.

American sign language, or ASL, is the main form of communication for many deaf and hearing-impaired children and adults in the country. And now, thanks to students Anna Messina and Caroline Small, and advisers, Ms. Lauren Brant and Ms. Nancy DeConcini, Cherokee has its own ASL club. Ms. Brant and Ms. DeConcini are ASL translators at Cherokee and are fluent in the language. Many students who join hope to learn phrases of sign such as greetings and compliments in addition to getting a taste of other sign languages around the world.

The advisers and students in charge of the club have big dreams for the club as well. At the end of the year, they hope students will have developed a new respect for the language and gained a better understanding for their peers who rely on sign language as their form of communication. Small and Messina have also set more personal goals for the club, too.

“At the end of the year, our goal is to be able to visit local schools for deaf children and to speak to the students using the phrases we learned throughout the year,” said Small. 

The girls have been making plans to organize this club since their freshman year of high school.

“My great-grandparents were deaf and it encouraged my family to use sign language. Also during my 5th grade year I was enrolled in enrichment classes that helped me fall in love with sign language,” said Small.

“In freshman year when we were on the field hockey team together, we started sharing our background on ASL, and organizing the club!”

Many of the students who are joining the school’s new club also have background with sign language and have loved ones who use sign. By being a member of the club, these students hope to become more connected, and to be able to communicate better with those friends and family members. Throughout the school year the American sign language club will meet about once a month and all meeting dates can be found on the morning announcements and on the Remind101 for the club: @97ha6d to 81010.