Students and teachers from Darlington met with students just down the road attending Georgia School for the Deaf Thursday, March 7 for a silent dinner. This silent dinner was a chance for students to not only learn and/or practice signing, but a great opportunity to make friends they otherwise would not have had the chance to meet. Throughout the meal, students were not allowed to talk, only sign.
“I knew no sign language, and I had to communicate using hand signals and learning sign language on the fly. We talked about everything you would normally talk about with someone you just met! It was an awesome experience,” junior Abby Burris said.
Students were understanding, patient, and made it as easy as possible to communicate without talking.
“I know sign language because my sister is deaf and blind, so I had to learn to communicate with her. I am not very fluent but the other students did an amazing job of being patient and working with me to understand each other,” freshman Knox Sirmans said.
Those who attended the dinner last year were prepared with a pen and paper, however; for this year’s it was not allowed in order to get the full experience of learning to sign.
“The most valuable aspect of the opportunity was a chance to be in the minority, trying to get someone to understand us. We had to pay close attention, get eye contact, and allow ourselves to be uncomfortable, and not know what we were doing,” Learning Center Specialist Jennifer Luitwieler said. “I imagine most of those students are used to working hard to get others to understand them, but for us on that night, we were in their shoes.”