By: Aidan T.
On Thursday April 30th, DHS senior Beni D. held an event to raise awareness for American Sign Language (ASL).
The event was held at the Hanover YMCA’s Laura Center for the Arts from 4-6 PM. In attendance were many students from Mrs. Robertson’s ASL classes at DHS and other members of the deaf community. Beni planned and held the event as part of her senior project.
Students from the Mrs. Robertson’s ASL classes and other students from around the area attended the event to get a chance to use the skills they have learned in class. Sophomore Devin B. said he was excited for a chance to use his ASL skills. “Events like these really help me because you’re put in a real life situation and you’re sort of forced to use ASL,” Devin said. “It really helps the students and the people of the deaf community communicate.” Sophomore Claire L. agreed with Devin and said “These events really help teach you new signs and get you to learn things you may not learn otherwise.”
From Weymouth High School, junior Mark R. attended the event after hearing about it from his teacher. He has been taking ASL for two years and hopes to pursue a career in it after high school. “I think the more you go to events geared towards connecting with the deaf community you really get to understand and appreciate the people of the deaf culture,” Randals said. “[Deaf people] really appreciate you trying and once they see you trying, you get to know them better.”
Beni’s mentor and teacher Mrs. Robertson attended the event to support Beni. Mrs. Robertson was very proud of Beni and said, “It’s events like these, put on by hardworking and caring students like Beni that make me want to come to my job everyday and teach ASL. I’m really proud of her.” Mrs. Robertson’s husband is deaf, so she uses ASL both inside and outside of school. For her, ASL is a different than most languages. “The thing for me that is most interesting about ASL is that you can use it pretty much everywhere in the United States regardless of language barriers.”
Beni put on the event with the support of several local businesses who donated food and other items to help her with the event. “There were days where I would just around in my truck and ask for donations for the event.” Beni said. “Sautelles in Kingston was great because of the amount of food they provided and how much they cared about the event.” Beni’s parents and siblings attended the event to help and support her in any way they could. “I have the best family in the world,” Beni said. “My aunt who’s a teacher took a half day off work to help me with setting up and doing various things. She didn’t have to do that and it really helped.”
Beni’s brother, junior Jared D. attended the event and took many pictures throughout. Jared said he is proud of Beni and feels like the event is a big step for her. Jared, who has taken ASL for two years felt like Beni’s event helped her bring together the deaf and haring communities and helped provide some instructional oppurtunities for the members of the hearing community.
Beni’s mother, Mrs. Lisa D. was very proud of the amount of work Beni put into the event. “Aside from a few a email addresses, Beni put the whole thing together by herself,” Mrs. D said. “She was extremely independent and self-sufficient and the whole family is very impressed by her efforts.”