Sign Language Club

Sign Language Club is open to all OHS students who are interested in learning a new language. Sign Language is often used by deaf people to communicate; however, it can be used by people who can hear but cannot speak.

Every Thursday in Mrs. Minix’s Pride, the club meets to learn new signs. Colors, emotions, seasons, sports, and weather are just some of the subjects the club learns and reviews. Each week, members are introduced to a new topic.

This year the club leaders are Rachel Roth, Olivia Coffield, and Sabrina Binns; the picture below shows them signing “a-s-l”,  which stands for American Sign Language (pictured left to right). Pictured along with them is the club’s advisor, Mrs. Minix.

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When asked, “Why did you join Sign Language?” and “What’s the biggest benefit from the club?”, Sabrina answered:

“I joined Sign Language because I have always found it very interesting and it has allowed me to talk to my friends in a different language. I have also been able to understand what some people are saying who have disabilities or are deaf themselves. It is a very helpful skill to have. The biggest benefit of the club is the ability to speak in sign language and having the ability to appreciate the those who have to use it.”

Through this link, you can also pick up some signs and have fun binge-watching a new T.V. show!

Here are some benefits of sign language and why it could be useful to you in any point of your life.  

Spelling practice - Often times you have to fingerspell the letters from the alphabet if you do not know the specific sign for a word.

Communicate with animals and babies - Many studies have been conducted where monkeys and chimps sign to get their message across. Sign Language is also valuable for an infant because they easily sign ‘milk’ and ‘more’ without speaking. Infants are just learning what they want and cannot verbalize their thoughts.

Accommodate for deaf people - Oftentimes, deaf people need interpreters for legal matters, or have to accommodate the hearing world. No matter how bad your singing is, many appreciate the effort on learning their language.

Builds communication skills - Emotions and expression is improved greatly. Telling stories with exaggerated facial expressions can be very interesting to watch.

Advantages in business or future situations - According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for Sign Language interpreters is projected to rise 46% from 2012 to 2022, which is equivalent to 29,300 jobs. But only 80% of the jobs needed are filled. Being an interpreter pays from $20-$25 an hour and the three year program American Sign Language/English Interpreter Program which is offered by Scott Community College.

Sign Language can also be used in many different situations, especially in places that verbal conversations are hard to understand or hear.

  • Underwater

  • Across the room

  • In a classroom

  • While eating food

  • Chatting at noisy concerts and in restaurants

  • Conversing in quiet areas ie. libraries

Whether you want to learn Sign Language on your own to have secret conversations with your best friends, or learn alongside the Sign Language Club at Oconomowoc High School, the language has many practical uses. Sign Language is a beautiful, expression-filled, and fun language to assimilate.

Here are some of my favorite YouTube channels or websites that teach Sign Language! Here’s to you starting to sign today!





School of Sign Language

Sign Language 101


Bill Vicars

Signed with Heart

And these are a list of apps you can download onto your phone!

My personal favorite is ProDeaf, which has a virtual translator that animates the English words you type into the search bar and shows you how to sign them. It also has a simple dictionary you can download to access offline onto your phone.

Lastly, you could watch song covers on YouTube or an amazing T.V. show, Switched at Birth, which is offered on Netflix!