Villa senior starts American Sign Language Club


September 16, 2021

Villa senior Emma Sanders has announced the start of an American Sign Language Club. She announced it publicly on Aug. 30 via email, and the meetings will take place after school once or twice a month. They will typically take place in the actual Villa building, with some special cases that are yet to be determined.

This club will include learning the basics of the language, raising awareness about the deaf community, games, and guest speakers.

American Sign Language, or ASL, can be incredibly useful for everyday life and for interacting with people who may not have the ability to speak. It also is not available to take as a language class at Villa, so there is little-to-no opportunity to actually learn it for the student population.

Because of these reasons, and many more, Emma has decided to bring ASL to Villa. 

“What drove me to start the American Sign Language (ASL) club is the way society undervalues the deaf and hard-of-hearing community,” Emma said. “We always expect the deaf to assimilate to us by learning how to talk, read lips, and use hearing aids. This results in a sense of isolation for the community and creates an exclusive environment for the hearing. I thought that if I could assist students in learning ASL, even if it is just a small group, then I would be making a difference in this world.”

Emma also said she strives to start the meetings and activities for this club the first week of October, but there are still logistics to be sorted out. 

English and SAT teacher Mr. McAndrew is the faculty advisor for this club, and he made some comments on his involvement as well.

“When I was a child, I attended a variety of classes that were a part of Behrend’s College for Kids. One of the classes I took was American Sign Language (ASL),” Mr. McAndrew said. “I don’t remember much from 6th grade—the alphabet, hungry, and soccer are about it—but I have always been intrigued by ASL and look forward to learning alongside members of our club!”

He also said he is really looking forward to the guest speakers and taking part in an Erie-area deaf community social group. 

If you are a Villa student and are interested in joining this club or have any questions, please contact Emma Sanders at Emma.Sanders@prep-villa.com.

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