Cypress is Ready for the Holidays with ASL’s Christmas Spirit!


photo by Grace Kim

Ms. Llewellyn explains the the process of interpreting music into ASL for her students.

by Grace Kim, Staff Writer

Ms. Llewellyn and Ms. Winterton’s ASL students will perform Christmas carols with ASL around campus for their final project before heading into winter break. 

ASL, which stands for American Sign Language, is a signed language spoken by hand and used in the United States and Canada. Using gestures, facial expressions, and space, ASL is a visual language with grammar and syntax and is the 4th most used language in the United States.

Ms. Randi Llewellyn, one of the ASL teachers at Cypress, explained the charm of the language. “It is a beautiful, wonderful language. It is picturesque; it allows you to convey meaning that you don’t always have in English. We’re able to translate and share it differently—it’s not equivalent to other languages; I would actually say it’s superior.”

With the wonderful language making our lives much more convenient, Mrs. Christine Ruby first launched the ASL program at Cypress High School. She decided to start the ASL caroling as a final that was cumulative of all the skills the students learned, as well as to have a fun holiday tradition.

Students listen to the music and produce a different language by decoding and placing it in a separate word order. After memorizing, students make the words pretty, making it visually easier to understand. 

Llewellyn said, “Finessing and memorizing is just as important as learning. It has to look nice. If it’s choppy, it doesn’t make sense. Our hands are paint brushes; the air is a canvas. You can paint a picture—everything becomes a picture.”

The Christmas tradition brings fun and joy not only to the students but also to the teachers.

Ms. Tanya Winterton, another ASL teacher at Cypress, talked about the good memories during a performance that lasted a long time.

“Last year, my ASL 2 really stepped up. They mime-played all the instruments of a Michael Bublé Christmas song, and it was hilarious but really entertaining.”

A couple of days before finals, ASL will present their songs for students and staff on Tuesday or Wednesday during Finals week.