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The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

News for Wildcats, by Wildcats.

The Paw Print

A new club comes to Normal West

ASL connects students through sign language
Voltaire Grant
The ASL Club was started by Sophomore Ali Garcia and is sponsored by Mrs. Sara Maynerich. Above, at an average Monday meeting, they are about to play a game to learn animal signs.

ASL (American Sign Language) is used by over half a million Americans and is the third most used language in the US, following English and Spanish. 

Many more people, though, have some sort of hearing impairment, with about one in eight people having hearing loss of some kind.

The Bloomington-Normal area has had a deaf community since at least 2012, but Normal West High School’s ASL club was made in January of this year. 

It was started by the club’s president, sophomore Ali Garcia with the sponsorship of Mrs. Maynerich.

Though Ali doesn’t have any personal connection with the deaf community, she was inspired by an online creator to make an ASL club here at West to better communication and understanding between the hearing and deaf communities. 

Unfortunately, the club doesn’t have many members, with only about 6 student members. 

However, despite the low number of members, Garcia makes sure that on every Monday, the club has something to do, from learning numbers to animals or other basic concepts. 

Alongside instructional videos, the club often plays games in order to reinforce the lesson.

Many teachers also are part of the club, such as Ms. Brenna Vogel. 

Vogel is a Learning Behaviour Specialist, and helps students with mental or physical disabilities. 

She attends the ASL club in order to better help her students that have hearing impairments and to overall have a larger reach. 

One of the students who attends would benefit immensely from this club as well. 

When asked why they joined the club, one student explained, “I have hearing loss, so I wear hearing aids… I’ll have to learn it eventually because I will completely lose my hearing at some point.” 

This student also aims to help teach special needs kids in their future, so this club helps them twofold.

Though it’s the end of the year, anyone with an interest in ASL or anyone with a connection to the deaf community should join this club. 

The ASL club hasn’t lost steam and with the dedication of its president, the club should last long after this year.


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