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Signing at La Frontera

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On Thursday, March 2, Ms. Perkins’ third year American Sign Language class drove to La Frontera to be ‘deaf’ for lunch. The students drove themselves and filled up the small restaurant and attempted to order without speaking.

The students who conversed with each other across the table by signing were unable to acknowledge the wait staff or the playful background music. Students ordered by texting on their phones and relying on Perkins to ‘translate’ for them. Students were able to live only one struggle that deaf people deal with on a daily basis.

Senior Kamryn Blackburn claimed, “Though it was difficult for me, I had a lot of fun! We got a lot of attention from other people, and the food was good too!”

“I felt like I understood how hard it is to be a deaf person in public,””

— McKenna Keyes

“I felt like I understood how hard it is to be a deaf person in public,” said senior McKenna Keyes, “It was difficult to convey what I wanted to say to the wait staff, and if Perkins hadn’t been our interpreter, we never would have gotten our orders. “

Ms. Perkins reflected on the trip and commented, “My classes always do so well in these trips, and we had a blast! Nobody caught onto us, and I say that’s a successful trip.”

Deafness is more common than people think, and American Sign Language is an interesting language to learn. Sign language has a structure different from traditional English (unless signing exact English) which is what makes it an official language. While in English a sentence would be pronounced, “I’m going to the store today,” in ASL it would be signed “Today store I go.”

While the nearly fluent students signed across the table at each other, they all came to realize how strange it is being among ‘the hearing’ in public. The experience that Ms. Perkins puts her students through opens their eyes about how deaf people live on an almost first hand basis.

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Signing at La Frontera