Student Club Provides Service for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Ms. Hyatt and students practice using ASL to interpret TarzanStudents at Lee and New Century High in the American Sign Language (ASL) club are using their skills to provide deaf and hard of hearing students the chance to enjoy one of the school’s latest theater performances.  Stephanie Hyatt, the club sponsor, said that “over the past two years I’ve had a couple of students who have become so proficient in sign language that this year we decided to take on a really big challenge.”  They ended up choosing Tarzan, a musical production currently underway by the Performing Arts Magnet, as that challenge.

Ms. Hyatt adds, “I knew that it would be an appealing show for younger students.”  In order to reach those students, the club reached out to the teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students within Huntsville City Schools and offered them the opportunity to come as part of a field trip to see the show interpreted.

Ms. Hyatt shows students how to sign something in ASLMargaret Buckner, one of the student interpreters, says that “the amount of characters that we have to interpret for makes it a little bit tricky.”  This is partly because the group that is going to be doing the interpreting is a small one, but also because it’s such a large production.  While it is such a huge challenge, Ms. Hyatt says that they are all excited to present the first interpreted musical at Lee High School.  The hope is that this will become the first of many subsequent shows that can be enjoyed by deaf and hard of hearing students across the district.

The students at the school were able to work on the club activities and perfect their skills during “Power Hour.”  During this time, students can devote energy to engaging in enrichment activities which are led by or sponsored by faculty in the school.  Ms. Hyatt says that a New Century student approached her with the idea of improving their skills by creating an ASL club, and from there it just took off.  Since then, the students in the club have worked hard to increase their proficiency with ASL.

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