Signing Christmas cheer

Published 2:36 pm Monday, December 24, 2018

The Lakeland High School American Sign Language Club spent the last few days before Christmas break going to different elementary schools in Suffolk to put on a holiday performance.

On Thursday, the group visited Florence Bowser Elementary School to perform for the Early Start, kindergarten and first-grade students.

“The kids really get into it,” said Lakeland ASL teacher Anita Fisher. “It’s the true meaning of Christmas seeing the children light up.”

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The program started with some traditional Christmas songs like “Frosty the Snowman.” The high school students not only signed the songs but also acted them out as well.

Nothing could distract the elementary students as they watched the performance. They sang along and even tried to sign along.

“We do the story “The Night Before Christmas” as a play, and the kids get to hear the story and sing the songs along with us,” Fisher said.

The Lakeland students enjoyed traveling around and spread Christmas cheer.

“This is the very first year that I’ve done this, and it’s been good,” said Chloe Schlieper, 15.

It’s so exciting to see the kids’ faces when we perform.”

Fisher and her students loved seeing the students try to sign along with the music, and they decided to teach them just a little bit of American Sign Language.

To teach the students, they had Santa Claus come out and show them how to sign “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Everyone was happy to see Santa come to visit Florence Bowser, and the kids made sure to give him a high five before leaving.

“My favorite part is when Santa comes out, because the kids’ faces look so excited,” Schlieper said.

The high school students gathered with small groups of the elementary students and quickly showed them how to sign the song.

“It’s amazing how fast they pick it up,” Fisher said. “We teach them, and one group of kids presents the song to the other.”

Along with Florence Bowser, the Lakeland students also visited Nansemond Parkway, Kilby Shores and Northern Shores elementary schools.