Harlingen elementary school students learning American Sign Language

Students at Long Elementary in Harlingen have developed an interest in a new skill- American Sign Language.

Students of Jane W. Long Elementary School in Harlingen are learning a new language- American Sign Language.

According to fifth grade teacher, Alexa Limon, students developed an interest in the skill and have been excited to learn it.

"The passion just took off, it really seemed like I couldn't teach them fast enough," says Limon.

Limon says it all started with conversational and linguistic things, such as “hello” and “how are you.” From there, students took an interest and began learning the new skill.

"There was a need that my students had felt that they wanted to be able to communicate with their peers that had solely relied on sign language as a means of communication," Limon says.

According to Limon, it was her mother that taught her ASL.

"My mother really early on in her career was a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing," she says.

Now, Limon is passing on the skill to her students who are eager to learn ASL and even stay after school to do so. Limon believes in the importance of teaching ASL to her students so that they may be able to communicate with those who cannot speak. She adds that learning ASL is a challenge to them and it gives them a sense of accomplishment.

"It's different to learn something - a new language - instead of talking the way we do because some people don't know how to," says Angela Mata, a student at Long Elementary.

The district was able to fund the class through ACE - an after school program that offers extracurricular activities and tutoring to students.

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