Breaking Down Language Barriers

Daisy Lopez, Staff Writer

Downey High School opens their doors to a new club that students took initiative in, and with the help of Ms. Perez, they have now started an American Sign Language Club that meets on Mondays, in E-207, to spread awareness and help improve communication skills between the students.


Mariana Lopez, 12, always had an interest for ASL but was never able to get it as a class until her senior year. She enjoys learning the language, culture, and history.


“I really love ASL because I am not only bilingual but instead I am trilingual,” Lopez said. “I feel cool because I can communicate with deaf people.”


Raymond Regis, 11, is one of the four students who were involved in the process of making the club come together. He thinks of ways to expand the club and make fun activities for those learning. Regis wants to take the club to Deaf Exposition, which is where they have many booths showing different types of deaf celebrities. Thanks to taking the class, and now starting the club, he wants to major in ASL in college; he loves that the language is so expressive.


“ASL is such a beautiful language. It is visually appealing and it flows so easily once you learn it,” Regis said. “We encourage everyone to join, and we are open to new ideas.”


Mrs. Perez is the ASL teacher and ASL club adviser; she is part of the deaf community and much like her deaf students who need an interpreter she does too. Perez sometimes finds it difficult to communicate with others who have no knowledge of ASL but she manages because some members of her family do not sign. The club started with four students who wanted to spread awareness, after they gained inspiration from watching No Ordinary Hero, which talks about political issues and some of the conflicts the deaf community faces.


“The goal of the club is to become an ally for the deaf community, so they can collaborate,” Perez said.


The ASL club teaches the language, history, and culture. It is a great way to learn and be able to communicate with the deaf community. It builds a trust foundation. The club is a great alternative for someone who has wanted to learn the language but could not get it in their schedule.