Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Thursday, August 16, 2018 2:12 pm

Clubs: Sign Language Club

Time: Thurs. at 2:15 p.m. and 3 p
Place: Room 102 and the Media Center
Sponsor: S. Taylor
President: Julie Nguyen, Jessica Johnson
Two girls are communicating with each other, but neither is speaking. They are not writing or gesturing either. Instead, they are signing, using their hands to talk to each other. In the Sign Language Club, students learn how to sign and communicate using sign language.

During the meetings junior Julie Nguyen and freshman Jessica Johnson try to have conversations in sign language. They talk about their school day and anything else they feel like communicating to each other, according to Johnson. "Whenever you want to say something, use sign language," says Johnson.

Johnson emphasizes that learning to sign is important because it creates a broader ability to communicate with others. "It's a language that a lot of people don't know, but there are a lot of deaf people" and it's important to know how to communicate with them, says Johnson.

Media teacher Shay Taylor is the teacher sponsor of the club. She began the club at Eastern Middle School where she taught before coming to Blair, and where both Johnson and Nguyen were members. She began to teach herself sign language when she was young. The prospect of a new and very different language from English grasped her attention. "[Sign language was] something that was really different and exciting," says Taylor. Also, Taylor had friend who had two deaf parents and Taylor was eager to talk with them on her own. "I really wanted to be able to communicate with [the parents] without going through [my friend]," says Taylor.

Both Nguyen and Johnson joined the club because of their interest in this different form of language. Johnson's mother lived at Gallaudet University, a university that provides education for deaf and hearing individuals, for several years and used sign language frequently at home with her kids. As a result of this exposure, Johnson became interested in expanding her knowledge and ability to communicate in sign language by joining the club at both schools. "It's fun and it's great to learn new languages that [are not] offered in school," says Johnson.

Club beat by Meaghan Mallari