School introduces new sign language club


Photo by Dibya Ghimirey

Lindsey Graney leads Baldwin’s American SIgn Language Club this year.

Dibya Ghimirey and Kalonga Mwenda

In an ambitious effort, Baldwin High School created an American Sign Language class in the past year, but not every interested student was able to schedule it.

So through the efforts of Baldwin’s teacher of the deaf, Lindsey Graney, and some interested students, the district has now created an American Sign Language Club. 

“The students ran with it and were the ones who pushed and petitioned for it,” Graney said. 

For some of those students, like sophomore Molly Fircak, their own personal experiences led to their interest in Baldwin starting such a club. 

“I have a friend who is deaf so I want to communicate with them,” Fircak said. 

Junior Ariel Michael has a similar motivation.

“I wanted to join the club because I have a friend who is deaf,” Michael said.

The idea for the club first arose last year. Fircak followed up with Graney in mid-September, and the club got the green light this month. 

Graney, who first learned sign language at Kent State University, hopes more students will be interested in learning American Sign Language. She looks forward to teaching students about the experiences of hard-of-hearing people.

“Sign language is a part of a big community and culture, which is a beautiful thing to be a part of,” Graney said. 

She said that since Baldwin is home to several students who are deaf and struggle with hearing, they can now speak with other students in the school easier. 

“It’s making communication accessible,” Graney said. 

The culture of the deaf community is something that can be interesting for many students. Michael is one student who can identify with this sentiment. 

“I enjoy immersing myself in different cultures and the deaf community is a particularly interesting one to me,” Michael said. 

The ASL club is open to everyone interested in joining. Students will learn something new at each meeting, engage in games related to the deaf community, and learn a little bit more about life for deaf people and people who are hard of hearing. 

“There is nothing you will lose from joining and it’s a win-win situation,” Michael said. “It could improve your life skills because if you meet deaf people it is a useful skill.”