American Sign Language Assembly

Sydney Kass, Features Editor

On Tuesday March 19, Schreiber held an American Sign Language (ASL) assembly in the library. Hosted by Maricar Marquez, the event was funded by the Ed Foundation and coordinated by Schreiber junior Maansi Shroff with the Helen Keller National Center in Sands Point (HKNC).

The organization’s mission is to enable every deaf-blind individual in the U.S. to live and work in the community of their choice.

Students spanning all grades gathered 4-1 and 4-2 in the library to listen to Marquez’s life story.

Marquez was born deaf with Usher syndrome, which is a condition that affects vision and hearing.  Thus, she is able to sympathize with the struggles of other deaf-blind individuals.

Marquez has been involved with the Helen Keller National Center for 21 years, first starting as an intern when she was a graduate student at Gallaudet University.

At the assembly, Marquez discussed how she navigates her life and the challenges associated with not being able to hear or see.  She primarily uses ASL to communicate, and uses braille to read and write.  When interacting with the non-signing public, Marquez uses text and a portable braille display allows her to access her iPhone.

Students were also fascinated to learn that ASL is offered as a linguistic course in over ten high schools on Long Island.  For instance, East Islip High School offers ASL I, II, and III as a world language option.  Schreiber used to offer a course dedicating to teaching students ASL, but it was removed years ago.

This assembly enabled some of the Schreiber student body to better understand the significance of learning ASL.  On top of this, it also helped spread awareness of the struggles deaf-blind individuals face on a daily basis.