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    Entering my freshman year of high school, I spent a lot of time considering what language I wanted to dedicate my four years of high school to. As I spent first grade through eighth grade studying Spanish, I decided that I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and focus on another language. I was intrigued by the option of American Sign Language since I had never experienced a class in this manner before.  

    As I walked down the longest hallway of Rye High School towards my class sweat beads began to form on the palms of my hand. The moment I saw my sister Natalie my worries melted away like a popsicle on a scorching summer day. I walked into the first day of class and I saw my teacher Ms. Turoff solely communicating through sign language, my stomach dropped from how nervous I was.  

    I was overcome with feelings of anxiety and fear that I would never be able to stay in the ALS class because I had no idea what was going on. I kept waiting and hoping for the teacher to speak to us, as this was an introductory class, but she continued to sign for the remainder of class time. I could see her hands shape shifting but could not grasp what she was attempting to teach us. Shockingly, by the next week, I was finally able to understand what my teacher was communicating with us. After a couple of class periods, I was able to pick up on the clues and I began to understand the readings behind the material we were learning in class. The warm class environment encouraged me (and others) to work extremely hard in order to succeed in this class.  

    Shortly after the first couple of weeks, I was able to learn by example and I began to excel at an exponential rate. In comparison to the other students in the class, I was able to understand the material and communicate with the teacher using sign language. I spent time outside of class helping my friends better understand the class information, especially those that were struggling because they felt comfortable trusting me. I realized from this experience that if I stick to something, even if it makes me uncomfortable and nervous, I will be able to succeed if I put my mind to it. Another important lesson that came out of this class was the way in which I recognized how essential it is to help those around me that are struggling.

    Although I was hoping to take ASL at High Point University, unfortunately, the course was not offered at the time. However, I am determined to take a course in ASL over the summer in order to expand my knowledge in this field and hopefully take my skills to the next level. I aim to incorporate ASL into my future work experience in order to aid in the communication between those using ASL and those that do not understand ASL.