ASL Club performs during Spring Music Festival

Jenna Ho-Sing-Loy, Sports Editor

ASL club performs ‘You Got a Friend in Me’ for the Spring Music Festival, April 27. The club has been practicing American sign language to advocate for the deaf community. Photo by Cara Tran

Nine girls stood on the stage, all dressed in blue jeans and faced the crowd of people sitting on the grass eating lunch during the Spring Music Festival. The music started and the familiar tune of ‘You Got a Friend in Me’ filled the amphitheater.
None of them sang, but the message came clear through their arms and hands in the form of American Sign Language (ASL). The Westview ASL Club became official a month ago and club president Sam Song (10) said that she was moved by how well-received the club was by students and ASB alike.
“I felt really accomplished,” she said. “I was able to share about ASL to a larger audience and I think that the club members all did really well.”
She was ecstatic that their performance in front of the school went according to plan and that it brought a lot of attention to their club, so it can grow.
“I was really happy how excited the members were to participate,” she said. “They came to the extra practices that I held, and I was happy to see how enthusiastic they were to come [and perform].”
Song learned ASL in third grade when she joined the signing choir Love in Motion. The choir learned to sign different songs and then performed them for parents who had lost their children.
“[Through it] we can show how sign language is another way to express a form of grief,” she said. “Sign language explains more than what words can because it’s your whole body and facial expressions.”
Through learning ASL, Song has been able to form connections with more people than she thought, especially in her choir. There, she was able to become friends with older people, some of whom were deaf and help them feel listened to and appreciated.
Bringing the club to Westview and having ASB ask them to perform at the Festival were a great start, according to Song, but she said that there are still many goals that she has for her years at Westview.
“My really big goal is to sign the National Anthem at football games,” she said. “That’s something I’ve done for a disabilities conference. I’ve signed the National Anthem with my signing choir and I think it’d be really cool to do it [here] to advocate for the deaf community and language.”
Song also said that a long-term goal for her would be to introduce an ASL course into Westview curriculum as one of the language classes.
She emphasized that a willingness to learn about other cultures is important to make sure that people are accepting of each other. One way that she and her club are doing that is through guest speakers from the deaf community. Last month, Vaughn and Carol Hallada, both members and researchers for the deaf community, came to Westview to talk about their life experiences, March 23.
“They were very inspiring to watch and [listen to],” Song said. “Our club was able to hire an interpreter, [so we could understand] how they grew up very different from us and how their everyday life was so different too.”
Overall, she said that she can’t wait to see where the club goes and how it will impact students and their interactions with others.
“I’m just really excited,” she said. “People have a willingness to learn about deaf culture, and learn that people have different ways to live.”