LAND O'LAKES — Students in Sunlake High's American Sign Language class have participated in a variety of activities to aid the deaf and hearing impaired in the local community and beyond.
In the past, students, led by ASL teacher Rhonda Leslie, have used the computer technology of Skype to communicate and develop an ongoing dialogue with students in the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine. In March 2009, ASL students were featured in a Times story as they prepared iMovie presentations to be used by patrons at Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens in an effort to make the parks more friendly for the hearing impaired. Earlier this month seven ASL students spent a Saturday noon at the zoo translating "frozen text" during the Birds of Prey Show and Animal Encounter with Norman, the Barn Owl.
Their latest gig comes this weekend.
When the Sunlake Dramahawks don leather to take center stage for the school's production of Grease, ASL students will be on the side of the stage wearing dark formal wear to translate both the dialogue and songs such as Greased Lightning to I've Got Chills for shows scheduled for tonight and Sunday afternoon.
"It's a great experience for the kids," said Leslie, noting it was drama teacher Missy Nolan who offered the invitation for ASL students to join her cast on stage. "And I'm always looking for ways to bring American Sign Language into the community."
"Getting the timing down and learning the vocabulary was a little tough — it's a process. But for the most part they've done really, really well," Leslie said. "Their commitment has really driven my commitment. I'm really pleased with what I've seen."