Sign Club

chris allmon

Being foreign isn’t the only thing that can cause a language barrier. Hearing impairments  can entirely change the way people communicate. Sign Language Club, led by social studies teacher Ron Swall, helps make a language that had been otherwise skipped over by the school population noticed.

“If you come across a [deaf] person you need to talk to, it’s important to know sign language,” sophomore Kara Kelly said.
Many students have joined the club, who had their first meeting back on February 10, and for many reasons like how sign language differs from spoken English.
“I thought it was different than other languages,” junior Hannah Oberrieder said. “It’s really cool, a totally different world.”
Others joined because they were looking for a good time after school.
“I joined because I thought it would be fun. It’s always fun to learn a new language,” Kelly said.
“It’s really cool because I’m taking Spanish and i can talk to people in Spanish but it would be cool if i could speak to someone who knows sign,” Obrerrieder said.
Despite the difference in reasons for going to the club, everyone can agree on one thing, learning how to sign would come in handy to communicate with those who are deaf and hearing impaired.

“[Sign Language Club] is a very good club, its something educational,” Oberrieder said. “We have some weird clubs here, but this is one people can actually use.”
Sign Language club has only had a couple of  meetings so far this year, and is still planning out the semester. However, they have arranged for volunteer staff available in the district and Free State students already fluent in the language.

“We’re [starting with the] alphabet and greetings and that kind of stuff to begin with and then just going where people wanna go,” sponsor Ron Swall said.

Members already know what they want to learn.

“I want to learn cat,” sophomore Maddie Branstrom said.
Hannah Oberrieder has other ideas on what she wants to learn.
“I really want to learn belly button in sign language,” she said. “ I want to learn my name because I forgot how to sign it.”
Sign Language Club meets in Swall’s room, 245, after school at 2:45 on Thursdays. Since the club has only had a handful of meetings so far, so they haven’t really talked enough to really know exactly what they are going to do.

“We spent some time trying to sort out some directions we want to go in, tried to look at what people want to try and learn,” said Swall “The leadership team came up with a couple of games to play like charades where people have to learn a few signs and have to interact using sign language.”

According to Swall, Sign Language Club isn’t all about learning, its also about having fun while learning the language. It’s a neat opportunity to get involved in the school with something that is completely different and out of their comfort zone for not only students but for teachers who also want to expand their communication skills.