By Jiya Doshi, BEAT reporter
Brunswick High School (BHS) has offered an American Sign Language (ASL) class to students during this school year. Many have been eager to take this unique course, taught by Amber Springs.
"This allows students to get a full experience of what a deaf person would go through on a daily basis," said Springs.BHS students at a deaf socialBEATVideoProgram
Along with the class, BHS started offering deaf socials to anyone wanting to come and join. The socials are for students to interact with each other using their ASL skills. Students come to these socials to have fun with their peers in a friendly environment.
"It was my first time doing to a deaf social and honestly I was a little nervous," explained Ellie Radabaugh, ASL 1 class student. "I had only been signing for a couple months and I didn't know much about what was going to happen there."
"I ended up having a great time," she added. "I met some new people who have the same interest of sign language as me. It was really cool seeing others sign and it helped me learn and have a better understanding of the deaf community."
The rules for these socials are simple. Attendees are to use anything they have learned in ASL and must remain voices off. If students come across something they want communicate but cannot remember or do not know the sign, they must find another way to get the point across - such as gesturing, writing or typing through text messages on their phone. Students are also expected to order any food without using their voice, so that workers may get the experience of what to expect if they are approached by a deaf customer.
"The purpose of these socials are to give students a comfortable environment to practice their skills outside of the school setting," explained Springs. "Students can learn new signs as well as what it may be like to be deaf in a hearing world."ASL Club MeetingBEATVideoProgram
The first social has held at the Brunswick Panera and about 40 to 50 people attended. The next social will take place on Friday, March 10th at Dick Hoover Lanes in Brunswick from 3 to 5 p.m. The cost is $7 per person, which includes bowling for two hours.
Along with ASL students, local community members who are deaf also attend the socials. Their presence have made an impression.
"The first thing I noticed was how friendly people were," said Emma Hilke, BHS ASL student. "One time, someone just walked right up to me and signed, 'Hi, my name is' and we just started having a fun conversation and started becoming good friends."
"I feel like it's hard to be shy at deaf socials, so you get to know people. My overall experience was great," she added.
Jiya Doshi, an eighth-grader at Willetts Middle School, is one of over forty student "backpack journalists" (grades 6-12) in the award-winning BEAT Video Program. The Program is sponsored by Scene75, Plum Creek Assisted Living Community, Baskets Galore, Medina County Arts Council, Medina County Women's Endowment Fund, Brunswick Eagles 3505 Brunswick Rotary Club and Lorain County Community College at Midpoint Campus Center. Go to www.thebeat22.com to learn more about the Program, or visit thebeat.pegcentral.com to view videos produced by the students.
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