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DHH Parkway Students Recognize Deaf History Week

 Parkway DHH students and silent zone participants take a photo together.

May 3, 2024 - Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) students at Parkway West High School celebrated Deaf History Week through a series of videos, workshops, and table activities. Deaf History Week is recognized annually to educate hearing and DHH individuals about Deaf culture and American Sign Language (ASL). 

“DHH students have done a great job of preparing materials such as posters for the walls, and researching famous Deaf individuals and Deaf history/culture to help us prepare materials for the week,” said Zachary Jodlowski, special education teacher at Parkway West High School. “During our week-long celebration, DHH and hearing students have been given opportunities to learn ASL from videos shown in class by their teachers and attend workshops presented by their DHH peers. We also held a spirit week where staff and students were encouraged to dress according to certain themes relating to Deaf history.”

The week also incorporated silent zones, which were set up during lunch periods. A silent zone is a space where people don’t use their voices to communicate but instead use ASL. At Parkway, everyone is invited to participate, experts and first-time learners of ASL. At the table, DHH students provided worksheets that included the ASL Alphabet, conversation starts, and beginner signs to learn such as “hello,” “good,” “family,” and “goodbye.” 

“We had several people who I had never met come to the silent zone and chat with us, so that was pretty cool,” said Lukas Colble, Parkway and DHH senior student. “ASL is my first language. That’s what I learned growing up, so I like getting to teach that to other people. We don’t want anyone to be scared to talk to deaf people. We enjoy helping others learn to communicate with us.”

Throughout the week, staff received a video highlighting five signs taught by DHH students. Jodloski says it was a great opportunity for general education teachers to learn another way to communicate. 

“It’s become a source of excitement for our DHH students to be involved in taking the lead to teach multiple people their language,” said Jodloski. “It’s wonderful to see our DHH students get to participate and be recognized for their community and culture.”