I am probably dating myself right now, but I graduated from high school almost ten years ago (2005!). I went to a very large high school with about 4,000 students, so it was nearly impossible not to find some kind of crowd to hang out with. A big high school also meant TONS of clubs. I don’t know exactly how many clubs (well known or otherwise) my high school really had, but we had at least 80, including (but not limited to) Plant Club, PRISM (a LBGTQ club), and Anime Club. Despite the size of my high school, we did NOT have a sign language class. However, we did have Latin and German.
When I asked someone why we didn’t have a sign language class (especially since a rival high school did), I was told that it was too expensive and time consuming to find, hire, and retain a full-time sign language teacher. Naturally, I was pretty disappointed, but I didn’t let it go. If we couldn’t have a class, I would create the next best thing! A sign language club!
Creating a new club at my high school was harder than it sounds. You can’t just start a club overnight. You have to find a teacher willing to sponsor the club, which can be difficult when teachers are extremely busy with their own classes and lives outside of school. You also have to find ten people to sign an unofficial agreement stating that they will join the club. Once you do all of that, you have to fill out paperwork and make posters to post around campus. Finally, you have to have your first meeting, and hope to God people show up.
Sign Language Club started off pretty small, but over time we got more consistent members and we worked hard to make the club fun as well as educational. I don’t remember what year I started the club, but I’m pretty sure it was my senior year. In any event, I graduated in 2005 and went off to college, leaving Sign Language Club in the hands of its younger members, who I prayed would continue it despite me no longer being a part of it.
I checked in on the club via my high school website from time to time, and I was delighted to see that it was still listed even after a few years. One day, about 2 years ago, I decided on a whim to write a letter to Sign Language Club. In the letter, I introduced myself and thanked them for continuing the club for me after all these years. Several months passed without a response, and I figured maybe they never got it (even though the letter was never sent back to me).
Well, a couple days ago I got a letter in the mail from the current sponsor of Sign Language Club! She told me that she had meant to have someone write to me, but ultimately decided to write to me herself. She told me that she is a Spanish teacher at my high school and really enjoys being the sponsor of Sign Language Club. She told me the name of the current president, who is very passionate about sign language. The current sponsor also mentioned that they would have a booth at the upcoming Ethnic Fest, and they would donate their proceeds to a deaf program in Kenya.
I am SO thrilled! The club has continued 9-10 years after I started it, and they are doing wonderful things for the community! I never imagined that the small club I started in high school would live on as it has. I am truly touched.
Near the end of the letter, the sponsor asked me if I would be willing to visit them sometime. I will certainly do that (after I brush up on my very rusty sign language, of course!).