Fri. Sep 30th, 2022
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Word is spreading about an offering at Greendale High School that’s opening up a new world for students.

“It really changed my whole life plan,” junior Julia Gnadt said. 

Gnadt is now listening to her heart, even – and especially – when there’s nothing to hear.

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“It’s just kind of weird because it’s silent, but me in my head, it’s not quiet in my head, because I’m having communication going on,” Gnadt said.

The classroom she’s talking about is likely the quietest you’ll ever come across.

Greendale ASL teacher Jennifer McCauley and student Julia Gnadt

“It’s quite strange that the classroom is just silent the whole time,” Gnadt’s classmate, Sydney Block said.

They’re in the level 3 American Sign Language (ASL) class, part of Greendale High’s ASL program. It began in 2018 after a suggestion by a parent. Even though the students can hear, the classes are reframing the way they see things.

“Once you start learning these things, it just opens your eyes to a whole different world I didn’t really think about before,” Gnadt said. “People think it’s translated English, it’s English through sign, but it’s not. It’s an entire language on itself. I think that’s crazy and amazing.”

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“Something you have to do when you’re signing is use your facial expressions, use your eyebrows, put your eyebrows down, scrunch up your nose, scrunch up your eyes,” Block said. “That’s how you express. It’s not just using your hands.”

There aren’t currently deaf students at Greendale High School, according to the school, and the class doesn’t just interest those with deaf family or friends. Of the school’s about 950 students, roughly 120 are enrolled in Jennifer McCauley’s ASL classes, levels 1-4.

“My classes are always filled,” McCauley said. 

‘We learn from each other:’ Taking skills beyond the classroom

Students are also using their skills outside the classroom to craft relationships.

One Monday a month, a group of students heads to Water Tower View apartments in Greenfield for the deaf to visit and make crafts with seniors.

“For them to see the effect they’…….

Source: https://www.fox6now.com/news/greendale-american-sign-language-program

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