Students Skip Recess To Learn Sign Language So They Can Communicate With Deaf Classmate

Rhemy Elsey is a fifth grader at Mark Bills Middle School in Peoria, Illinois. Born almost completely deaf, he uses cochlear implants to help him hear, but still uses sign language communicate.

In school, he uses an ASL interpreter to help chat and talk with his friends. Then one day, fellow classmate, Dezyrae Clarke, decided to start a sign language club. “I wanted to be able to talk to Rhemy and I wanted to be able to communicate with him,” she told

Once a week, about a dozen students give up their recess to learn sign language. They’ve even created ASL nicknames for each other so it’s easier to communicate with Rhemy.

Tammy Arvin, Rhemy’s translator, is absolutely thrilled that the students are taking the initiative to learn how to chat with Rhemy.

Over the few months, the students have made big strides in learning ASL and are starting to chat with Rhemy on their own, without the assistance of Tammy. She told ABC News,

“It’s wonderful to see him have interactions with students that are one-on-one and that are more natural interactions that make him feel less isolated in the school setting.”

It’s wonderful to see the community making an effort to include others. Watch the video here:

Check out my story on these awesome 5th graders that are learning sign language–all so that they can communicate with a friend and classmate. I think these children stand to teach us an amazing lesson that we can all take something away from–about kindness and accepting others 🙂 Happy Friday!

Posted by Alyssa Paldo on Friday, February 19, 2016

[h/t: Huffington Post]