While a variety of languages are offered at Timber Creek, American Sign Language (ASL) is unique in that it is completely nonverbal. Like any other language, it has distinctive ways to express ideas, using hand signs instead of words, and ASL Club gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of this form of communication beyond the classroom.
“I like that it brings people together that are really passionate about their language,” explained officer Claire Dewey. “We also learn more about the culture of ASL, and it’s just a really fun environment to be in.”
Dewey helped plan the group’s upcoming trip to Birdville ISD to host a carnival for deaf elementary school students. They will be traveling to Hurst on Nov. 13.
“It’s a really unique opportunity to see kind of what it’s like in the deaf world because going to a hearing school, you don’t really see that a lot,” said Lauren Quattlebaum, another officer for ASL Club. “I’m excited to go to the elementary school.”
Each year, under leadership like Dewey and Quattlebaum, ASL Club connects its members to the deaf community through a variety of interactive experiences.
“We go to the elementary school in the fall and then in the spring, we go to a retirement home. There, we’d put on a performance for the residents,” continued Dewey. “Last year, we did a competition. The [club members] dressed up as different animals, and they pretended to be that animal. They were being interviewed on why they wanted to become the Cadbury bunny.”
Although a large part of the club is meeting others who use ASL, the students also gain a better knowledge of the language in general through practicing with each other.
“ASL is a really interesting language because while it functions somewhat like English, there’s so much different about it that makes it a challenge to learn,” explained Quattlebaum. “But once you understand it, it starts making a lot of sense.”
While it takes effort to communicate effectively in ASL, the rewards for participating in the club make the struggle well worth it for Dewey and Quattlebaum. By joining a club that connects its member to the wider deaf community, ASL students are making memories that will last a lifetime.
“I just like being able to talk to people who can’t hear. I think that’s really fun,” said Dewey.