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Cigarroa High School students showcase ASL skills in coffee chat for deaf awareness

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 10:56 AM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - One Laredo high school hosted a coffee chat to bring awareness to people who are deaf.

Since last week was Deaf Awareness Week, these students got to practice what they’ve learned at school.

Dozens of students gathered at the Cigarroa High School library for one purpose: to put a spotlight on American Sign Language.

These students are currently are taking sign language classes at Cigarroa High School.

This Friday they were able to practice all they have learned so far by having conversations and even playing games.

Ezequiel Martinez, a non-hearing student, says he is flattered to know there are students who can hear and are interested to learn more about sign language

Communicating by ASL, he says, “It’s quite flattering that there are a lot of hearing students that want to take it, and the fact that they want to actually communicate with me, I actually really enjoy that and have that accessibility and that experience here.”

Martinez says his friend group is growing now that he can communicate with more people with sign language.

One of those friends is Zaydee Lopez who has taken sign language for about two years.

She believes it’s important to learn the language so other students can feel included.

“I have become friends with some of the deaf kids in the school, like Ezequiel. I have a bunch of classes with him and it’s a college class. It’s nice to have him there. Every morning you just see him there saying, ‘hey good morning!’ or he’ll walk in and wave at us and ask how we are doing. It’s really nice.”

Their teacher, Bianca Cubriel says American Sign Language is a growing language in the United States.

She pushes for her students to advocate for the deaf community.

“It’s important to support our deaf community members. Our hope is that students leave Cigarroa High School knowing sign language and hopefully pursue a career in interpreting, deaf education, or ASL as a foreign language. And at the very least, if they don’t pursue a career in this, we hope they take what they learn and use it in the community.”

Cigarroa faculty says a handful of non-hearing students attend school.

Events like these help both hearing and non-hearing students communicate and join forces to advocate for the deaf community.

Students say that learning American Sign Language can brighten up a deaf person’s day because they now have someone to communicate with.

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