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Leaders in Learning: ASL club hits the ground running at Nampa HS

A grant from CapEd allowed the Nampa ASL club to buy the learning materials necessary for each student to learn at their own pace (CBS 2 Photo).

A new sign language club at Nampa High School is gaining a lot of momentum thanks to a few dedicated people who've come together to make it all happen.

The ASL Club is a first of its kind learning opportunity for students in Nampa — and it all started as the shared vision of one dedicated teacher and one ambitious student.

Samantha Showers, a tenth-grade English teacher at Nampa HS, and her student, Jasmine Ondesko, brought the idea to start an ASL club to administrators late last school year.

Ondesko was told that if she wanted to make the new club a reality, she would need the signatures of at least five of her peers.

"I was super scared that there wasn't going to be enough people," said Jasmine Ondesko, ASL Club President.

The club now has more than 30 members who regularly attend. It's offered twice a week after school.

"If you ever come across someone in society and they can't actually speak it's hard to be able to talk. It's like, 'oh I don't know what I am doing!' But, if you know ASL, you can at least make an attempt," said Jeff Bodee, ASL Club secretary.

To help each of the students learn sign language at their own pace, the Idaho CapEd Foundation has granted the club several new learning tools; including language books, flashcards, and books about deaf culture.

"We are going to allow students to check them out," said Samantha Showers, ASL Club Adviser. "That way they can study them at home and that way they are not limited to the two days a week that they're here."

The club has only just begun and already, several students say it has inspired them to use sign language in their future careers.

Soon, the students plan to take their new skills outside of the club and into the community, helping as interpreters at events throughout the Treasure Valley.

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