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Morrisville State College Students, Instructor Host Halloween Festival at Cazenovia Library October 29 to Teach American Sign Language

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.–Twenty-five Morrisville State College students will be helping the community learn American Sign Language (ASL) in an interactive and festive way.

The students, in adjunct instructor Liz Wilcox’s Introduction to American Sign Language 101 class, will be hosting a Halloween Festival on Oct. 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Cazenovia Public Library. The event is geared toward children ages 2-7 but is open to anyone who is interested in gaining exposure to ASL. It is free and open to hearing and deaf members of the community.

Students will be teaching the signs, including colors, numbers, shapes and Halloween-related vocabulary, through story telling, craft making, songs and snack decorating.

“Each group has been assigned a specific feature of ASL and is responsible for teaching it,” Wilcox, who has worked as a teacher and interpreter in the deaf community for years, said.

“Introduction to ASL 101 is an elective course which fulfills the General Education category Foreign Language for teachers and anyone who can reasonably expect to encounter members of the deaf community in their work, business, public relations, et cetera,” Jeannette Evans, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts, said.

The Introduction to ASL class is also taught at the Morrisville State College Norwich Campus. College officials are in the process of developing a second-level course for the spring semester.

The event is also a way for Wilcox to evaluate her students’ skills.

“This project allows me the opportunity to evaluate their knowledge of specific features of ASL and their ability to use it in a real life situation,” she said. “It would be difficult to evaluate a language that is all in the air in a written examination.”

Sign language is based on the idea that sight is the most useful tool a deaf person has to communicate and receive information. ASL uses hand shape, position, and movement, body movements, gestures, facial expressions and other visual cues to form its words.

Wilcox holds a master of science degree in Deaf Education and a bachelor of science in Elementary and Special Education. She has Sign Communication Proficiency Interview Level: Advance, New York State Permanent Certification in Deaf Education (k-12), and taught five years at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf located in Brooklyn N.Y.

Morrisville State College offers more than 75 bachelor and associate degrees and options with eight new degrees being offered this fall: entrepreneurship and small business management, B.B.A.; nursing, B.S.; science, technology, and society, B.S.; journalism and communication for online media, B.S.; horticulture business management, B.T.; human performance and health promotion, B.S.; criminal justice, A.A.S. (Norwich Campus only); and human services, A.A.S. (Norwich Campus only).

Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.