Second cohort graduate from sign language course

| 12/07/2018
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Suzette Donaldson, Florence Solomon, Dalacia Wright, Lorna Palmer, Ronald Simpson and Idania Simpson accompany three songs using American Sign Language

(CNS Local Life): Nine students have completed an American Sign Language (ASL) course facilitated by the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS). The graduates of this year’s Intermediate ASL Level 1 programme included staff from the Ministry of Community Affairs and the Ministry of Education, teachers, teacher’s aide and nine-year-old Red Bay Primary School student Ronald Simpson.

The graduation ceremony was held Thursday, 5 July at the George Town Town Hall.

Taught by Norma Ferryman, the course ran from October 2017 to June 2018, and comprised a number of modules including mastering a range of gestures, handshapes, movements and facial expressions, stated a press release. The students also learnt basic greetings, introductions, farewells and expressions of courtesy.

In the ceremony’s opening address, DCFS senior social worker Leanora Wynter-Young said that ASL is the fourth most studied modern language in US universities. She told attendees that this was the second cohort to enrol and to date 30 candidates had completed the course, which was set up by the department to better serve the local hearing-impaired community.

Ministry of Community Affairs Chief Officer Teresa Echenique congratulated the graduates and extended her appreciation to Ferryman for sharing her talent and taking time out of her busy schedule to teach these classes, stated the press release. Echenique encouraged the graduates to use their new skill to inspire others to learn ASL.

“To gain proficiency in any new language is challenging but is always a highly rewarding and culturally-enriching achievement,” she said. “I commend you all on your determination and dedication and am certain that the benefits of being able to sign will make a great difference to the lives of those in our community who can now access your skills.”

DCFS Director Felicia Robinson added, “Mastering the rudiments of signing is empowering and increases the emotional intelligence of learners. Knowing sign language is an invaluable asset for anyone whose job involves interacting with members of the public, as several of my staff fully appreciates.”

The graduates signed songs during the ceremony and Echenique presented certificates to the students.

ASL graduate Florence Solomon said of the course: “As a teacher’s aide, I feel blessed not only for being given the opportunity to better interact with hearing-impaired students but also for the enormous sense of achievement learning ASL has given me. I can honestly say that the course was well worth the effort and signing will add to the learning and teaching strategies I already use both in a classroom setting and outside of it.”

Also graduating were Tamara Davis, Lorna Palmer, Leisa Welcome, Idania Simpsom, Kaitlyn Thompson, Dalacia Wright and Suzette Donaldson.

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Category: Education

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