Eagle High’s ASL Club is going to rock the school with their upcoming poetry and storytelling competition

Eagle High students are excited to sign their way to victory


Cole McAdams

Students in the ASL club gathered together to build their knowledge on interpreting American Sign Language while at poetry night.

Cole McAdams, Copy Editor

American Sign Language, commonly known as ASL, isn’t a language that’s on many students’ minds on a daily basis. Even though ASL is a language that millions of deaf Americans and Canadians use as a means of communication, it’s rarely brought up in conversation.  

But the Eagle High ASL Club strives to change that by opening up conversations and planning deaf events that are fun for all. Their upcoming event is a poetry and storytelling competition in which students of all ASL fluency levels can participate in telling stories in front of fellow students and guests. 

“Storytelling is a big part of the Deaf world, so this event will be a great way for ASL students to get deeper into Deaf culture,” said junior Hannah Burnstein. Burnstein is also the secretary of the Eagle High ASL club. “Sign is beautiful and expressive as well as being efficient and accessible. Any levels of ASL proficiency are welcome at the event.” 

The competition will be broken up into different fluency levels such as Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Native Deaf signers. Each of these levels will also be broken up into different storytelling categories, being ABC Stories and Number Stories for Novices and ABC Stories, Number Stories, Classifier Stories and Narrative Stories for Intermediate signers. Advanced signers will have all of the previously stated storytelling categories including Handshape Stories, and Native Deaf signers will have all of the storytelling categories as well as a separate category for Poetry. 

According to galludet.edu, “More than 35,000,000 people (13%) [living in the U.S] report some degree of hearing trouble.” Among this statistic is sophomore Xander Trexler, a Deaf Eagle High student who has to rely on lip-reading and context clues, as well as ASL.  

“I love sharing a common language that enables me to communicate and not miss out,” Trexler said. “Everyone in ASL club is still learning, but we all have a passion for the language and awareness of the culture.” 

In a world that is surrounded by hearing norms, it’s difficult for deaf people to get the accommodations they need, deaf students especially, who also struggle to make connections with classmates and teachers. 

“Every day social events and conversations aren’t very accessible, but ASL events like this are, which means a lot to me,” Trexler said. 

The poetry and storytelling competition will be held in the Eagle High Social Center on April 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and will also double as a bake sale, with the money raised going to a charity supporting deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Decided by judges, winners will receive a prize in their respective story telling category, and a separate prize will be awarded to the best story in one’s fluency level. 

“You don’t have to know a lot of ASL to come to the event! Come along to experience the language and storytelling, I promise you’ll be hooked and anxious to learn more,” Trexler said. “Just by one signed conversation, you’ll be surprised at how much you can pick up.”