ASL Honor Society Attends Texas School For The Deaf Homecoming

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ASL Honor Society Attends Texas School For The Deaf Homecoming

Emily Mahoney, Reporter

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While weaving through crowds in a large courtyard lined with booths selling jewelry and t-shirts in addition to clamoring to order food and socialize, the last thing you might expect to hear is near silence.

Under a calm overcast sky, the Texas School for the Deaf’s homecoming event was anything but tranquil. Kids darted between legs and teenagers snacked on barbecue and crepes, their mouths full while engaged in detailed discussions. Former students- now well into retirement- signed warm reunifying greetings to one another while posing for a photo and holding a poster celebrating their TSD graduating class from the 1960’s.

Students from the ASL Honor Society attended this community event on Oct.12 to practice signing and immerse themselves in Deaf culture.

Senior president of the honor society, Kristyn Stephenson, is no stranger to the event as well as other interactions with the Deaf community.

“[They are] a wonderful community of people whose stunning language and bold friendliness have allowed them not only to bond with each other but also to open their arms to people of any other culture,” Stephenson said.

Located on campus in downtown Austin, the all-day event welcomed TSD alumni, students and members of the community to tour the school’s museum and learn about its rich 163 year history, support local and Deaf-owned businesses and share an expressive language. Also available were a number of school functions like volleyball and TSD’s homecoming football game in the evening. 

Senior honor society member Kira Niedert said she felt accepted despite it being her first time attending the event. 

“My favorite thing about TSD homecoming was watching the volleyball game,” Niedert said. “I loved seeing the amount of support that everyone showed towards their school and for the girls. The entire gym was packed and it looked like everybody knew each other which made it very welcoming.”

Stephenson’s goal was to overcome the language barrier present in the event by using the skills she has learned by studying ASL at the high school since the program’s conception four years ago. She believes the language is important for a number of reasons. 

“ASL is a relatively widely-used language in the United States and especially in Central Texas. Being a visual language, it is friendly to those who are non-verbal,” Stephenson said. “It’s truly a beautiful language both visually and through how it brings people together.” 

Neidert agrees with Stephenson, she said that the language grants the opportunity for others to learn about the community. 

“[ASL] creates a bridge between the hearing and deaf world, and not only gives deaf people a language and culture of their own, it also gives hearing people the opportunity to learn more about Deaf culture and learn about the challenges deaf people face but also the things they love and embrace about being deaf.” Niedert said.

To learn more about ASL Honor Society or ASL Club and other opportunities to interact with the Deaf community, contact or visit Ms. Plata in room 1009.