College Corner: ASL class signs its first hello


Grant Asner

Senors Jiselle Covarrubias and Mario Ronquillo practice signing to their classmates in the period 3 American Sign Language college class on March 16.

Grant Asner

For the first time in 14 years, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) has provided an American Sign Language (ASL) class for its students taking college courses and so far said they are loving it. They are learning all types of greetings, gestures and an intro to the unique history of ASL.

“I actually love this class,” senior Yvette Mandujano said. “I’ve always been interested in ASL and I’m really excited to continue taking the class. Without a doubt, ASL has been the best college class I’ve taken this year.” 

Students have immediately taken a liking to the class because of how different the teaching style is. Being a deaf professor, Lisa Chahayed from Los Angeles Pierce College makes learning more hands on and personal for the students. 

“I think my favorite thing I’ve learned from the class is just the basic ‘Hello,’ ‘How are you’ so I’m able to interact with our teacher or anyone else who is deaf or hard of hearing,” sophomore Donovan Ochoa said.

Although Chahayed is only present Monday, Wednesday and Friday, students are using their newly learned signs for fun with friends outside of the class.  

“I think my favorite part of our ASL course is getting to practice with my friends later on in other classrooms because it keeps us busy, entertained and it just makes learning sign language a whole lot more fun,” Mandujano said.

More recently, the students have realized how different life without sound is compared to a world that favors spoken languages. Some of the ASL students plan on influencing and teaching their peers the art of signing as a means to connect more with the deaf community. 

“I will use what I’ve learned to help teach my friends and teach people around me so that more people will be able to communicate with the deaf community,” sophomore Giselle Garzon said.

Next year, ASL will be an available college course to any DPMHS student interested as well as a potential ASL cultures class. The ASL cultures class would teach students more about the history and background of sign language as a whole.   

“Yes, there will absolutely be an ASL course for students next year,” counselor Martina Torres said. “We will have ASL next year and I’m going to see if I can add the ASL cultures class (first) to teach a better understanding of the language’s history.”