ASL 4 classes have lunch downtown using sign language

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Emerson Muise

Communicating through the skills they learned in class, the ASL 4 class silently ate lunch at Sidetrack Bar + Grill.

On May 10, Amador’s American Sign Language (ASL) 4 students took a field trip for lunch downtown to experience the challenges that deaf people face when managing their life in a hearing world. Through this experience, they all learned about the deaf community and conversed through sign language.  

“My favorite moment from this experience was when we were all sitting at our table on the back patio, and we’re all talking and eating and signing, while all the normal people that were walking into the restaurant were just staring at us. Someone took a picture of us, and even through the window, other patrons were looking at us. We all had a good time just kind of teasing them about it,” said ASL 4 teacher Kyra Britto.

When it came time to order food, the students experienced a language barrier, as sign language is not a commonly used form of communication. Luckily, the waitress had some experience of her own. 

“The waitress actually knew a little bit of ASL because she took it in high school, and so that was pretty cool because she was able to communicate a little bit with us that way. We also pointed at things on the menu, wrote it down on our phone, and showed her to make sure that she understood everything,” said Sam Lowder (’23)

Through this event, students were able to bring attention to the deaf community by signing in public areas and putting their skills to the test. 

“Since COVID, there haven’t really been any deaf events in the area. Everything has been closed down, and there haven’t been any opportunities for students to interact with deaf people. So, I thought that this would be a really great way for the students to interact with each other in a real-world setting,” said Britto. 

Along with being able to apply their knowledge of ASL in real-world situations, the students were able to hold conversations with friends. Some of these students even interact with deaf people on a day to day basis. 

“One of my friends from church is deaf and we were able to communicate with each other, and there are still a couple things that I don’t know, so it’s definitely a learning experience,” said Lowder

The lunch was deemed a success by students and staff alike. It was a way to learn and improve their signing in a fun and creative manner. 

“Oh, it was awesome. We all had a great time with each other. We got to learn, see, and experience struggling through the language. We all just had a really great time,” said Britto.