American Sign Language Club Is Recruiting New Members Who Are Interested


Ellen Hiatt

Autumn Hill, Taylor Rackley, and Gracie Ith, practice signing in class.

From playing simple hand signal games to uploading a YouTube video, American Sign Language (ASL) Club members interpret the catchy Disney song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” uploaded on YouTube. The American Sign Language club will have meetings every Wednesday after school in Ashlee Mirgeler’s classroom, portable 4. “Well, I actually joined the class because my grandma is deaf and I wanted to be able to communicate with her,” said Rebekha Anderson, Treasurer.  “… she was so excited.” 

 “… We can learn culture, we can learn about making connections and learn all of these things that really help benefit all of us to really make us better people. So really I want kids to come together. I want them to enjoy the language. I want them to know each other. I want them to have fun and relax while learning something that’s really neat,” said Mirgeler, ASL teacher and club advisor. There’s much more to sign language than just knowing the language. 

ASL students participate in Deaf Day where ASL students can’t hear or talk the whole day. “We wear earplugs and a button that says we’re deaf so that people get to experience it and it’s really cool for us and them,” said Anderson. Another way the club engages with the rest of the school is on National American Sign Language day. Last year, there was ASL trivia held at lunch where students got to put their knowledge to the test and spin a wheel to win prizes.

Some events that the club has participated in was the “Wild Wild West” event, hosted at West High School. Those who felt comfortable with their hand-signaling skills, were given a chance to interact with other ASL students from other high schools. During Christmas time, club members felt the holiday spirit while “caroling” in the community. 

The club has a handful of goals that they wish to achieve this year. Ruthann Westover, senior and Vice President, said, “I want to grow it and make it a well-established club in the school. I like how it’s currently a lot of people are friends outside of the club. And I like that this classroom is a place where we can come here, mess around, have fun, trust to enjoy ourselves, and relax.” 

Another goal of the club is to benefit the community. “I’d love for us to do some community service. Teach our policemen and firemen basic signs so if they ever pull over someone who’s deaf or something like that we can teach them,” said Mirgeler. In the past, they have taught sign language to elementary and even preschool students which they plan to continue for this year. 

The ASL club has their minds set on possibly seeing interpreters at work for performances at the Hale Centre Theatre. Starting this year, they hope to prepare students for the biliteracy test. Those who pass are awarded a biliteracy seal on their high school diploma, a medallion, and a graduation cord. Passing the biliteracy test can help open doors for future jobs and colleges if they are fluent in two languages. 

There are currently QR codes posted on the walls throughout the school and a tutorial poster with basic hand signals that are good to know. The ASL club also has a group chat for those who are interested in joining and can ask a member to be added and join ASL.