A group of American Sign Language (ASL) students signed the national anthem alongside the Big Purple Marching Band at Saturday’s football game against Incarnate Word.
The ASL I class prepared for the performance since the first day of class in August. While this was ASL III’s fourth performance, it was the first for ASL I.
Various ASL courses have been offered for three years. Each year, the classes grow and offer more field experience. Cassandra Knutson, adjunct professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders department, said the song proved difficult for the class.
“Learning the signs to the national anthem is always a bit of a challenge, especially for my ASL I students,” Knutson said. “They are just learning the language and it is a pretty in-depth song to sign, but they are doing great.”
Participating ASL students practiced with the band from 11 a.m.-noon on Friday in preparation for the game.
“The band was great,” Knutson said. “They are very organized and know what they are doing because they have done it so many times. That helped us know what to follow because there is a regiment and we just jumped right in.”
“The experience was great,” Mitchell Bradford, junior theater major from College Station, said. “It is fun being able to communicate and use another language to show American pride.”
Bradford said Knutson goes through the process step-by-step to make sure the students are familiar with the correct signs before learning the song.
“They get better every day as the year goes on,” Knutson said. “We have already learned the national anthem, so there is a lot more we can learn in class.”
Bradford, who is hearing impaired, said that he was glad to have the opportunity to learn more about deaf culture.
“I am so glad I took this class,” Bradford said. “It has been my favorite experience here at ACU and in my lifetime.”