Students find sign language skills useful

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MONTVILLE, Conn.—American Sign Language is, by some estimations, the third-most spoken language in the United States. And students in Montville High School’s ASL classes have found multiple opportunities to use their skills.

The Board of Education formally approved the ASL program at Montville High in 2004. Now about 70 students take three levels of ASL there, including six students who either are deaf or hard of hearing.

The ASL 4 students also have conducted a mock trial in sign language, learned holiday-related signs and studied the signs of other countries. Last year, Bell said, students created an “ideal room” for someone who is deaf.

The cultural aspects of the deaf community extend beyond theater or art. People who are deaf or hard of hearing, for example, have more in-depth conversations about each other when meeting for the first time, Perkins said.

“You could walk away from the person knowing their history without knowing their first name,” Perkins said.

But the deaf culture has no food specific to it. So when the world language department had its ethnic food night, Bell said, the ASL students found themselves in a bind for a cultural dish.

But they found a way to take part in the event.

“We made finger foods,” Bell said.

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