High School Students Learn Sign Language

High School Students Learn Sign Language
Posted on 03/03/2023
Understanding how Deaf people communicate can be a powerful experience for students. It opens the door to new cultures and ideas. The American Sign Language (ASL) course offered at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Bradford provides students with this opportunity.

This course allows students to develop new language and conversational skills. They also learn about the connection between ASL, culture and identity. It is a rich addition to the curriculum for students at Holy Trinity.

Grade 11 student Maryan E. said, “This course opens doors to getting further training in the future. I like to know that if I ever meet a person who uses ASL I can make them feel more included by being able to communicate with them. We’ve definitely gained something from this course.”

Teacher Chiara Ferragine, is a certified specialist in Deaf education. Ferragine also has a personal connection to the Deaf community. Her son was diagnosed deaf as a baby. Although he eventually received cochlear implants, Ferragine enrolled in an ASL program. She understands the value of being able to communicate using sign language. Even knowing something as simple as “thank you” can create a smile.

The hope is that a Deaf person whose first language is ASL will someday teach the course. In the meantime, Ferragine is happy to fill the role, "I'm not fluent in ASL, I just want to give these kids a basic understanding. The interest is there - I want to foster that interest." She hopes students will choose to continue their studies.