BREAKING: Signing Santa offers holiday cheer 


Jasmina Buranich

Originally planned for December 6, American Sign Language (ASL) teacher Lisa Teschke hosts an event for deaf children from Shallowford Falls Elementary to meet Santa Claus. ASL students and club members decorated the freshman cafeteria with balloons, tables, snowflakes and Christmas lights to set the festive tone.

Jasmina Buranich, Co-Copy Editor

Every Christmas season hundreds of families take their children to visit Santa Claus and take photos that will last a lifetime. The children sit and tell Santa the items they want to see under the tree December 25. Unfortunately, deaf children can not communicate as easily without an interpreter. This year, American Sign Language (ASL) teacher Lisa Teschke plans to host an event  December 8 so deaf children can communicate with a Santa Claus who signs their language.

As the holiday music played, the students signed the lyrics and danced with the holiday spirit. Each person wore a name tag with their name spelled and signed to improve communication for the children. As the children entered the cafeteria at 11 a.m., Teschke sat them at their tables and aimed their attention at the door. Hands shot up in the air, smiles streaked across faces and eyes opened wide as Santa Claus stepped into the room. 

“It came to decorating, making sure we had all the ingredients, making sure we knew what we were doing such as singing songs for them like ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’. I think it turned out really good,” senior ASL club member and student Kaden Ranson said.

Magnet sophomore Jack Scafidi takes Teschke’s ASL level two course and dressed as Santa for the event. Throughout the day he took several pictures and listened to the children as they signed the items they wanted for Christmas. He interacted with signing and non-signing children to provide an excellent experience for the festivity.

The hosts set up various stations throughout the cafeteria. From pinning a nose on a snowman, creating arts and crafts, making cookies and playing rounds of ring-toss to meeting Santa, cheer spread throughout the event. As infamous holiday music such as “Jingle Bell Rock” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” echoed, the children received pizza and drinks to conclude their day. 

“They have an interpreter, [but] there [are] not a lot of people that sign. It’s a lot of gestures. They don’t have equal access to language. So, this is perfect for them. Jack also signs very well; he is in the magnet program [as] well. My students are being exposed-like diversity-some have cochlear implants, and some have hearing aids. One [child] goes ‘she has hearing aids’ [because I’m an adult] it was kinda nice. Children [can] get exposed and have a role model, Teschke said.

The Chant would like to thank Ms. Teschke, Jack Scafidi, the ASL Club and ASL students for their contributions to the event. Thanks for spreading holiday cheer!