Challenged by the prospect of an unknown way of communication, Grace Staggs has created a solution to bring inclusion and unity to her school. As she goes through her daily life, she often runs into people with hearing loss that communicate using sign language. She is eager to be able to communicate with them and promote inclusion through teaching others how to sign, as well.
During her junior year, Grace Staggs, senior, was inspired by her history teacher, Mr. Harlicker. He signs often while speaking due to his daughter being deaf. This sparked curiosity in her and she explored ways to learn sign language herself.
“I wanted to learn sign language,” Staggs said.
She took this idea and transformed it into a club to inspire others to learn this way of communication, as well. She thinks it’s important to be able to communicate with everyone around.
“[I want] to teach people a language that is very important so that they are able to communicate with people around them that have hearing loss or who are deaf,” Staggs said.
She found a way to learn sign language along with her peers by asking Mr. Harlicker to contribute his skills.
“Mr. Harlicker teaches us words and phrases we can say” Staggs said.
With his help, she is able to raise awareness about the importance of being able to include and participate in conversation with everyone, no matter if they can speak or not.
“It’s not just learning another language,” Staggs said. “It is another form of communication with people you will see everyday and people who are different.”
This is the first club of its kind at this school in recent years, but the message is lasting. Staggs thinks it is important to introduce unity and promote education of a form of communication in order to interact with those in the community.
“We want to be able to form relationship with people who are deaf,” Staggs said. “Learning sign language is necessary so you will be able to communicate with them.”
Written by Staff Writer, Hanna Gaither