Sign Language class benefits all students at Heritage High - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sign Language class benefits all students at Heritage High

Posted: Updated:
Heritage High School American Sign Language Class Heritage High School American Sign Language Class
RINGGOLD, GA (WRCB) -

Heritage High School in Catoosa County is proud to be blazing a trail, and officials hope other schools in Georgia will follow suit.  The school's American Sign Language class is in its third year, and is one of only six in the state.  Dr. Lisa Godfrey introduced the class to Heritage, and says the program is poised for growth in the years to come.

The class benefits both hearing students, and those who are deaf.  The hearing students learn a new language, since the state Legislature declared ASL a foreign language, with credits counting the same as French, Spanish and German.  The deaf students, once isolated with limited communication among only themselves and a translator, now have dozens of students with whom to interact.

Dr. Godfrey credits Heritage principal Ronnie Bradford for supporting the program.  "You can't have a successful new class unless the administration supports you, and they have certainly done that here at Heritage.  He's as proud of it as anyone."

Sophomore Steele Clowers was looking for a challenge when he signed on to take the class, and said it has exceeded his expectations.  "This really opens doors for us," he said.  "If you work in a restaurant, and a deaf customer comes in, you can communicate.  They really appreciate that.  Plus, after I get out of school, I should be able to interpret when needed.  Not everyone can do that."

Freshman Titus Gonzalez enrolled at Heritage this year with his two sisters.  All three siblings are deaf.  He said, "They treat us like everyone else.  We participate in sports, theater, and other activities.  Hearing students sit with us at lunch, and it's not just ones in this class.  Everybody's encouraged to learn how to sign, and we sort of help teach them."

Having those extra "teachers" on hand is a blessing, according to sophomore Meagan Beavers.  "They don't make fun of us if we get something wrong," she said. "They help us learn the language better.  They're some of my best friends, I eat lunch with them every day."

"This class has created a culture of signing and sensitivity on the Heritage campus," Dr. Godfrey said.  "Our deaf and hard-of-hearing students are active in the school and the community.  They're learning to be valuable citizens, and our hearing students are too.  This class is a great way to help all our students.  I appreciate Heritage for taking the extra step and adding a new and unique program that has so much value."

The class's next big project is called Signsational, a night of deaf literature at Heritage High School on April 15.

Contact David Carroll at dcarroll@wrcbtv.com

Follow David on Twitter at www.twitter.com/davidcarroll3


  • School PatrolMore>>

  • N. Hamilton Elem. 5th grade flag team takes pride in their work

    N. Hamilton Elem. 5th grade flag team takes pride in their work

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:22 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:22:14 GMT
     Each morning at North Hamilton Elementary School, four fifth grade boys have an important job to do. A job they take very seriously.  They consider it a responsibility, a duty, and an honor.More
     Each morning at North Hamilton Elementary School, four fifth grade boys have an important job to do. A job they take very seriously.  They consider it a responsibility, a duty, and an honor.More
  • School Board gives Supt. Smith above-average report card

    School Board gives Supt. Smith above-average report card

    Saturday, August 23 2014 6:05 PM EDT2014-08-23 22:05:52 GMT
    Rick SmithRick Smith
    For the third straight year, Hamilton County School Board members have given their Superintendent an "above average" report card. According to scores released by Board Chairman Mike Evatt, Smith ranks highly for his choice of attire, his personal ethics, and communicating with his staff and the public. At the lower end of the scale, Board members said Smith needs to improve on keeping them informed of personnel moves, clarifying his goals, and negotiating contract details with teachers. On a ...More
    For the third straight year, Hamilton County School Board members have given their Superintendent an "above average" report card. According to scores released by Board Chairman Mike Evatt, Smith ranks highly for his choice of attire, his personal ethics, and communicating with his staff and the public. At the lower end of the scale, Board members said Smith needs to improve on keeping them informed of personnel moves, clarifying his goals, and negotiating contract details with teachers. On a ...More
  • STEM School expansion creates excitement

    STEM School expansion creates excitement

    Saturday, August 23 2014 3:58 PM EDT2014-08-23 19:58:11 GMT
    Two years ago, Hamilton County opened the new STEM high school, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math. At first, school officials hoped that students would want to get in the school. More
    Two years ago, Hamilton County opened the new STEM high school, focusing on science, technology, engineering and math. At first, school officials hoped that students would want to get in the school. More
Powered by WorldNow
Can't find what you're looking for?

WRCB-TV
900 Whitehall Road
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 267-5412

WRCB Jobs EEO | FCC Public Files

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WRCB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.