Oak Middle School ASL Club performs national anthem at WooSox game

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Oak Middle School ASL Club performs national anthem at WooSox game
Members of the Oak Middle School American Sign Language Club sign the national anthem at the Worcester Red Sox game. (Photo/Ashley Green/Courtesy of the Worcester Red Sox)

WORCESTER – The Oak Middle School community was well represented at the May 3 Worcester Red Sox game.

On that day, the WooSox marked Deaf and Hard of Hearing Awareness Night at Polar Park, donning specialty American Sign Language jerseys while competing against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. To celebrate the occasion, the WooSox invited the Oak Middle School American Sign Language Club to perform the anthem.

“I think it’s great for our students to have this opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned and what they’ve been practicing. This particular group is really passionate about it. They’re phenomenal. Many of them are very self-driven, and they came to us already with a wealth of knowledge and experience in ASL,” American Sign Language Club adviser Jason Ponticelli said.

The club, which includes roughly 20 seventh- and eighth-grade students, submitted an audition tape prior to the performance. Ponticelli and fellow adviser Sarah Powers started the club last year, and they have worked to spread awareness of American Sign Language throughout the school in an effort to be inclusive. Each day, Oak Middle School learns an “ASL Word of the Day” during morning announcements.

Oak Middle School ASL Club performs national anthem at WooSox game
Oak Middle School’s Select Choir, American Sign Language Club and RISE students perform the national anthem at the WooSox game. (Photo/Tayla Bolduc/Courtesy of the Worcester Red Sox)

By the time the American Sign Language Club reached Polar Park, the group was well rehearsed.

“We pretended the front lawn was the field. We had them walk in and out, line up. We talked about that. We gave them the heads up that there would be 5,000, 10,000 people there. I think people are nervous, but it’s a good nervous. And a lot of the Oak Middle School community is coming too, which is nice,” Powers said.

The group wore blue shirts made by Shrewsbury’s Reaching Independence through Supported Employment (RISE) Program. Several RISE students joined the American Sign Language Club on the field. The national anthem was also performed by Oak Middle School’s Select Choir, led by Bryant Clark.

 

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