Pushing for sign language in schools

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Melody Sharp fell in love with American Sign Language, thanks to her first grade teacher.

Every morning my teacher Mrs. DiPerna has us “Good Morning” and that was it, but I just thought it was really cool to be able to speak with your hands,” Sharp, said.

Sharp is now a Senior at State College Area High School and says it was tough learning the language without many resources in the area.

“Throughout the school I took different languages and it would have just been nice to learn this one that I was already interested in,” Sharp, said.

For Sharp’s Girl Scout Award Project, she decided to make a flyer, explaining the need for American Sign Language classes for credit in schools, and how a teacher can become certified.

“The ultimate goal is to have a district with a full world language compliment, where you could take ASL 1, 2, 3, 4 or maybe 5. So, you’d graduate being quite proficient at the language,” Kim Sharp, Melody’s Mother, said.

“The project was just informing people so that it could eventually get into schools, once there were people available to teach it and interested in it.”

Right now, there aren’t any American Sign Language classes in the State College Area School District, and Bellefonte offers ASL1 and 2, but only as elective courses.

Melody hopes more teachers locally take their certification to be qualified to teach American Sign Language for credit, not just as an elective. She says there’s deaf interpreters in the State College Area School District, now they need teachers.

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