American Sign Language Becomes the Third Most Used Language In the U.S.: On the Rise A.S.L. Club Opens Up About the Club and the Significance of the Sign Language World


ASL sign language gestures
ASL Club officer senior Eliza Vegas demonstrates common words using American Sign Language.

The wonderful world of ASL is frequently overlooked because it is a language communicated nonverbally, however the members that are part of this unified community take much pride in the benefits and very much enjoy the harmonious culture.

“There’s cochlear implants, and it can help deaf people hear, and the majority of them are against it because they’re obviously very proud of their culture,” senior Alexis Payne said. “They love everything about sign language, and they don’t see themselves as someone with a disability. There’s a lot of hearing people that think it should be corrected, but the ASL speakers are incredibly exultant.”

The ASL Club is an up-and-coming group of students that began this 2019-2020 school year and it is instructed by the group’s officers, junior Jasmine Schoch, senior Eliza Vegas, and Payne. Each officer demonstrates passion for the language and sees themselves remaining close to the culture, and also incorporating it into their daily life as they grow into becoming young adults.

Payne plans to pursue a career as an interpreter, and is currently training in ASL IV Honors, taught by the club’s sponsor, ASL teacher Lindsey Heisey. In addition to a possible career, Payne noted that the language is also just something that is useful to have knowledge of for future situations or encounters. Vegas said, “The language is full of expression and is truly something that cannot be faked. A quote which puts our officers’ love for ASL into words is from Myron Uhlberg, ‘Sign is a live, contemporaneous, visual-gestural language and consists of hand shapes, hand positioning, facial expressions, and body movements. Simply put, it is for me the most beautiful, immediate, and expressive of languages, because it incorporates the entire human body.’”

The ASL Club welcomes all people who are interested in signing, or just for those who want a basic understanding of common signs or phrases. “We have a whole array of different skill levels, and we also welcome people who just choose to observe,” Vegas said. “We keep all members actively participating by reviewing past signs and introducing new ones.”

The club encourages those who really want to dig deeper and extend their learning on the language. In addition, the officers even reach out to the members in order to plan lessons according to their preferences and areas of study that the ASL course class doesn’t touch base on.

“We want to know what our team wants to learn and get a strong understanding of,” Payne said. The leaders also prepare a video after each meeting, it is posted on Google Classroom and identifies each activity done in the meeting. New signs that were learned that day are also read over and reviewed during the recap video as well.

American Sign Language Club meets twice a month, and the officers tend to schedule the meetings to fit accordingly with each members’ schedule. The club took off at the beginning of the year with a whopping ten people to start, and it only has been receiving more attention and gaining lots of interest since then. The seniors anticipate the group to grow and become a well-known club at LCHS.

Vegas and Payne urge students to establish a basic foundation of ASL because it’s convenient and handy for everyone to know the generic signs and phrases. The language can benefit you everyday, like doing simple tasks, or engaging in activities with peers. Payne explained, “When you’re eating pizza with your friends and they try to talk while you’re eating, you can easily sign to them, simple as that!”