American Sign Language Day Fosters Connection Among Online Students and Teachers

Every year, on April 15, the world comes together to celebrate American Sign Language (ASL) Day, commemorating the rich culture and linguistic diversity of the Deaf community. To celebrate at Florida Virtual School (FLVS), we’re spotlighting two incredible individuals who share a love of ASL – 11th-grade FLVS Flex student and ASL Honor Society club member Angelina A., and ASL Honor Society club sponsor Mrs. Vera Gilmore.

Hands-On Learning: ASL’s Impact on FLVS Online Students

“Coming to FLVS was the best decision I ever made,” shared Angelina A. Switching to FLVS helped her boost her academic performance, and opened the door to her passion: ASL, a world language course not offered at her previous brick-and-mortar school. She has found a love for the language and now wants to study it in college. 

“ASL is a hands-on language that you can’t learn by listening to it, like French or Spanish,” said Angelina. “There is an entire culture connected to it, which I love exploring.”

Mrs. Vera Gilmore and Angelina at FLVS Club Awards

While taking American Sign Language 1, Angelina found a supportive environment where her fellow classmates were encouraging and patient with each other. 

“When practicing ASL, you’re making big gestures with your hands, so if you mess up, it’s more obvious than if you were only speaking another language,” she said. “That’s why the learning environment matters so much, and why I am so happy to have found this positive and supportive class with FLVS.”

She also joined the ASL Honor Society, an FLVS club for middle and high school students, to further her development. Additionally,  she meets with a hard-of-hearing tutor weekly for private lessons to further her fluency and connection with the language.

ASL Honor Society club sponsor Vera Gilmore is proud of Angelina for furthering her passion for the language. “Seeking out other deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals is the best way to continue immersing yourself in the language and culture.”

Empowered Through Language

Full-time Exceptional Student Education (ESE) instructor Vera Gilmore started the middle school ASL Club over five years ago. Interest continued to grow, and last year, FLVS added the ASL Honor Society club, an exciting option for sixth-12th grade students. 

With two hard-of-hearing children, Mrs. Gilmore’s journey into ASL wasn’t just professional—it was personal. She even changed her degree to dive deeper into the language and support deaf and hard-of-hearing kids, becoming a foster parent along the way.

“For me, ASL isn’t just a language; it’s my kids’ future,” Mrs. Gilmore shares, “I want to make sure I’m doing my best to teach others and make this language accessible to as many people as possible.”

Angelina at FLVS Club Awards

Leading the Way

Angelina was recently recognized for her leadership within the ASL Honor Society club at the annual Club Awards on April 9. While there, she also participated in a performance with the Glee Club, signing to a Disney melody while the Glee Club members sang. 

“Angelina is fantastic and has taken on every challenge,” said Vera Gilmore. The ultimate chairwoman, Angelina has led many club projects including World Fest, the Club Awards collaboration with the Glee Club, and the Deaf Art competition. 

Spelling out, “Create Art”, Angelina’s tactile piece is something that both deaf and blind individuals can experience

For the Deaf Art competition, Angelina created a tactile art piece that both deaf and blind individuals could experience.

Angelina has learned many leadership skills by chairing these projects and taking multiple online and dual-enrollment courses. 

“Learning a sense of responsibility and honing my time management skills by taking online classes has been really valuable,” said Angelina. “FLVS has really developed my skills and mindset.”  She even credits FLVS for helping her learn what works for her. She now knows what she is looking for and needs in a college, like personalized learning and smaller classes.

ASL 3 Online Course coming soon!

At FLVS, high school students have the opportunity to take our American Sign Language 1 and 2 courses, students in fourth-eighth grade can join our ASL Clubs, and students in sixth-12th grade can apply to join the ASL Honor Society. Each of these opportunities allows students to learn more about Deaf culture and how to sign.

There’s even more exciting news for ASL Day! FLVS will soon offer a new course, American Sign Language 3, for students interested in continuing their immersion in the language. Are you interested in learning more about these exciting ASL courses? Check out our Florida Virtual School Curriculum and Courses page to learn more.

Katie HodginsKatie Hodgins brings her wealth of experience and passion to the FLVS team, assuming the role of Content and Public Relations Specialist. A military veteran and lifelong learner, Katie enjoys communicating unique and innovative stories about people, places, and opportunities to inspire and engage the next generation. Having traveled throughout the world, she is excited to plant roots here in Florida and with Florida Virtual School.

3 comments on “American Sign Language Day Fosters Connection Among Online Students and Teachers

  1. Scott J. Smith

    It appears as if ASL3 is considered an “Elective” and not a “World Language”? How does this differ? And it seems to be only offered as an Honors class – How is this different? And when will it appear in the course selection form online?


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