Calvert High School Principal Steven Lucas: I feel as if it would mean more to hear from an American Sign Language student rather than teachers or parents.

I had heard before my visit with the guidance counselor that ASL 3 was going to be cut. In fact, I heard it from my peers before I did from my teacher.

ASL is extremely important to many students including myself. Some students consider furthering their career with American sign language, such as becoming an interpreter or studying audiology.

Having the ability to continue after two years of this language would further our education and help us for the future. We were all informed we would be able to continue this language for all four years if we desired to. We have grown individually and together with Mrs. Somers. She is an amazing teacher. Over the course of these past two years we have developed an ASL family, and we are excited to continue our growth with each other and her. ASL has brought us all together in ways we didn’t think were possible.

Mrs. Somers says we “will always be the special first,” but she shouldn’t have to say this. I do understand some kids have waited to take languages and they need the graduation requirements, but there are two other languages offered. These students could be informed that ASL is full and they would still have the ability to choose from two more languages. Both Spanish and French allow students to reach four years.

Given that both languages have multiple years that demonstrates they have enough room to take in more new students. Taking away the ASL 2 students’ opportunity is not fair to us. Not only is it not fair to us, but it is not fair to our outstanding teacher who has invested so much time inside and outside of school for us.

We came into ASL excited to learn a new language, making it our pathway, and with the intention continue for four years just like the other languages. Taking away ASL is also taking away our opportunity to receive the bilingual literacy. I know some of my fellow students and I were all working very hard to achieve that goal. There would only be one ASL 3 class, which would leave room for ASL 1 and 2 next year. Some students in ASL 1 and students that aren’t even taking ASL next year have signed this petition because they know how important it is and enjoy it just as much as we do.

As a principal and role model in education you committed yourself to us in delivering our education and allowing us to complete over two years of ASL, enabling us to receive the bilingual reward, and further our education in this topic. Now you have taken that promise away from us and it is outside of our control. That is why I am stepping up to be the voice of everyone who wants to continue ASL as well as sharing theirs.

Huntingtown, Northern, and Patuxent are all continuing their ASL programs. Why is it that our school isn’t able to meet the needs of the students when other schools are?

We are all heartbroken by this decision. I understand that there are difficulties and reasons for this, but please think about the ASL students and Mrs. Somers before you make the final decision. There are other ways around this such as limiting the amount of other ASL classes, and we are all putting our trust in you that you will make sure we receive what we hoped for coming into ASL.

Twitter: @CalRecMICHAEL