Lakeland shares holiday spirit

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, November 16, 2017

If you think Christmas cheer is delivered in brown packages or found gift-wrapped under the tree on Dec. 25, think again.

The joy of the holidays is better found in the spirit of giving, the togetherness of family and friends and the faith traditions that inspire our celebration of Christmas, Hanukkah and other wintertime holidays.

The Lakeland High School American Sign Language Club, “Talking Hands,” combined all of these things in their performance on Tuesday at MacArthur Center in Norfolk. They performed several Christmas carols in American Sign Language for a group of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. The children also got to share their Christmas wishes with Santa Claus as they sat on his lap, and Santa responded in American Sign Language. The children also enjoyed treats and made new friends as they waited in line.

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The Lakeland students always enjoy seeing the looks on the kids’ faces as they enjoy Christmas carols in their own language.

“That’s why we’re really doing it,” Lakeland student Rayquan Liverman told a Suffolk News-Herald reporter at the event on Tuesday. “It’s for the kids.”

The Lakeland students, and their teacher, Anita Fisher, don’t have to give of their time to do this event each and every year. But they do, in the spirit of giving.

The togetherness of family and friends is also found in the event. The Lakeland students are close, since they spend so much time together signing, and the younger kids get to be in a large group of other kids who are also deaf or hard of hearing.

In songs like “Silent Night,” the Lakeland students share the faith that is behind our celebration of these holidays.

We applaud the Lakeland Talking Hands club for sharing the holiday spirit with their younger counterparts who are deaf or hard of hearing.