Spreading awareness through silence

Students to participate in Silent Day on Wednesday, April 24

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Spreading awareness through silence

Students will use other techniques to communicate in order to raise awareness on Silent Day happening Wednesday, April 24.

Students will use other techniques to communicate in order to raise awareness on Silent Day happening Wednesday, April 24.

Edna Hernandez

Students will use other techniques to communicate in order to raise awareness on Silent Day happening Wednesday, April 24.

Edna Hernandez

Edna Hernandez

Students will use other techniques to communicate in order to raise awareness on Silent Day happening Wednesday, April 24.

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In order to pay respect for those who are deaf or are hard of hearing, high school campuses throughout the district come together once a year and pledge silence to spread awareness. The day is called Silent Day and it takes place on Wednesday, April. 24. Students involved in all levels of American Sign Language (ASL) classes or ASL club are to participate in the event.

One of the two ASL teachers, Candice Dodson, is deaf herself. She believes Silent Day allows students to come up with creative ways to communicate, especially through ASL.

“People use the language to communicate,” Dodson said. “I think it’s the third or the fourth most used language in America.”

Even though the students participating are in ASL and understand it, peers may not necessarily know the language. This leads students to become creative and think of other ways to communicate. There is no limitation saying a student must strictly use ASL on Silent Day, they can use other techniques.

“If people around them don’t know ASL, they will have to find a way to communicate with them,” Dodson said. “They can [use] their hands, type on their phone [and use] gestures.”

The event happens throughout the entire day. Even after the school day, students must continue being silent and find a way to interact with their familIes when at home.

“They have to be deaf for the day, 24 hours,” Dodson said. “At home, even with the parents, they don’t know the sign, they have to apply gestures.”

Senior Michael Gutierrez, who is currently taking ASL, participated in Silent Day for the first time during his junior year. This year will be his second year taking part in the event.

Nobody can really be in someone else’s shoes and truly understand it.”

— ASL teacher Candice Dodson

“We’re trying to feel how deaf people feel every day,” Gutierrez said. “I hope [students] learn something about what other people are going through [so] they realize how hard it is for both sides.”

Senior Avery Edwards saw people participate in the event last year. To learn more about why people were pretending they were deaf and restricted from speaking, he joined ASL. He believes it’s important to raise awareness for those who are deaf.

“I saw a couple people do it,” Edwards said. “I wanted to do it but I wasn’t in ASL so I didn’t know why they were doing [it]. But once they told me, I kind of liked it. I wanted to know what was their reason for doing it and how they connected to it.”

Although the day is as close of a representation of what deaf people have to experience, it is not entirely accurate to how deaf people experience life. Silent Day is meant to be an empathetic day in helping students gain a larger understanding of what other people go through.

“Nobody can really be in someone else’s shoes and truly understand it,” Dodson said. “[However, they] can kind of get a glimpse, an idea of what it’s like to be a person that’s deaf with a hearing loss, what they experience every day.”

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