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ASL: a sign of love

February is a month adorned in red and pink hearts, declarations of relationships, and signs of love. For a group at LPHS, these signs of love go beyond simple gestures. The American Sign Language club is literally signing their love.

“We are selling carnations along with an ‘I love you’ note using the ASL sign for I love you,” Joanna Witulski, ASL teacher and club sponsor, said.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the ASL club has created a fundraiser in which LPHS students can buy a carnation, along with an “I love you” sign, and send that carnation to friends and significant others.

“When ordering, students will sign the “I love you” note to the person the flower goes to (including last name). The flowers are $1 each. Most of the flowers will be delivered to a friend or sweetheart during specific hours on the 14th,” Witulski said.

“The funds go to ASL Club to have events and awareness activities at LPHS currently.  We recently added ASL Honor Society this year, so some of the funds will go to this,” Witulski said.

While the flowers and notes are indicative of the holiday season, this fundraiser goes beyond simply raising funds.

“[The purpose is to] express their love and support for their friends and sweethearts. Not only that, one aspect [of the fundraiser] is to increase awareness of ASL by the use of the ‘I love you’ handshape,” Witulski said.

This is not the only fundraiser that the ASL club participates in.

“We also do a once a year fundraiser along with with other World Languages (Spanish, French and German), which just ended the middle of last month. We sold tumblers, magazines and food orders. These funds allow World Languages to support their clubs’ activities, awareness and for some, scholarships,” Witulski said.

The ASL club is a wonderful club that explores the language and culture of people who are deaf.

“The members are creative, and we use ASL in an informal setting and try to go to events outside to get more language experience as well as spread awareness of and about ASL, deaf people and deaf culture,” Witulski said.

This February, support the ASL club and culture by buying carnations and signs from the club.  And remember, as Witulski says:

“The ASL sign for ‘I love you’ is a handshape that uses the thumb, index and pinky fingers. It is not slang or a gang affiliated symbol. It is a sign (like a word in English would be) that is used in ASL to symbolize love for family members, friends, sweethearts, or as an endearment of support.”

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