LEXINGTON, Neb. – An interest in learning sign language sparked a huge trend at Lexington High School after Odwuar Quinonez took action this school year.
Quinonez, a senior student at Lexington High School, helped start an after school sign language club this fall, which has seen student participation explode. The club has about 60 members and is growing.
During a club meeting this Monday, members could be seen wearing club t-shirts with their last names on the back. Students took turns trying to remember what animal each student around the classroom had been assigned, communicating through sign language as much as possible.
“We’re learning 30 new things every Monday and we review. We want to have the club until the end of the school year,” Quinonez said.
So far, students in the club had learned how to sign numbers, letters of the alphabet, colors, months, days of the week and family members. They were working on animal signs this week – some of which, like the sign for the spider, where so expressive that even a lay person unfamiliar with sign language could figure it out. For example, the furry legs of a spider are indicated with dangling fingers.
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“The club is very popular. Attendance is sporadic, students come when they can,” said Teri Griffith, advisor and sign language teacher for the club.
Griffith said the club allowed students to learn a new language that was exciting and something they had been exposed to when they see deaf students interact with others.
“This is where I started, this is where they get in the door. I hope they are excited enough to continue with it,” she said about starting out learning sign language.
Quinonez said he planned on pursuing his passion for sign language into college.
“I like doing it (signing). To see people get involved is great,” he said.
Photos: Courtesy photos
A new club at Lexington High School started this school year, the sign language club, has drawn wide-spread student interest. The club has about 60 members, it meets Mondays after school.
Right: Sponsor Teri Griffith, left, and student Odwuar Quinonez, the driving forces behind the sign language club.