FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The American sign language club at El Diamante High School is preparing for the national anthem at their graduation.

The club made up of both hearing and deaf students aim to fill the gap often felt by the students who rely on sign language.

Esmeralda says “I want people to learn sign language so we can help communicate with our deaf community with deaf culture.”

The ASL club has helped her become friends with students she otherwise might not have been able to communicate with, like Ray. 

“He is in all my classes almost and he is always talking with me. And using sign language.

And it makes me feel good. I feel like I am connected in the classroom. And having him learn ALS and communicating feels really good,” Esmeralda says.

Ray says he decided to join the ALS club after noticing the need on campus.

Ray Haverstock a senior says “I wanted to learn because I saw a deaf person in my class which no person would like, talk to, or try to communicate with and it made me feel sad and like hurt for them. So I wanted to learn, like not for me, but for that person.”

ASI club leader Kristen Ruby says she’s proud of the connections the students build through sign language.

Kristen Ruby, a teacher says, “When the club was founded, it was a deaf student and a hearing student who became friends. And the hearing student was taking sign language classes at COS.” 

Now everyone will see the connections made between the students at graduation as they stand together to sign the national anthem.

A reminder of just how important ASL is and why “Your Character Matters.”

Esmeralda says  “Please, people please learn sign language. ASL For the deaf world so you can communicate with them. And for our deaf culture. And show our deaf culture love. Love by learning ALS.”