Ms Alicia, the ASL Teacher with a Twist

Ella Luckett

This feature was written by a person in the newspaper prerequisite, journalism. Students all wrote features, and the newspaper staff reviewed and edited them. This one by Ella Luckett was selected for publication.


6th period ASL ventures outside to perform a signed skit in class. (Ella Luckett)

No two periods in Ms Alicia’s ASL class look alike. Some days, students venture outside to get a new perspective from a new environment; other days, they’re challenged to not speak and express themselves solely through sign. 

Since joining the language department, Ms Alicia La Franco has taught not based on a set curriculum, but on what will really apply in life.

Champion High School provides students with the opportunity to take ASL as their language credits. In this class, students learn about the culture and language of the Deaf community through various assignments and projects. Some of these include signing a presentation, performing a signed skit of a children’s story, and much more. 

American Sign Language, known by the acronym ASL, is a form of visual language. It is not written nor spoken, but rather involves the movement of the body and expression. This language is commonly used by deaf people, making it easier for them to communicate with each other since there is no use of sound.

ASL is taught by “Ms Alicia,” since it’s common in Deaf communities to refer to teachers by their first name. Ms Alicia uses pieces of Deaf culture like this in her classes because it’s a world she grew up near.

Ms Alicia di Franco, or “Ms Alicia” as her students call her. (Ella Luckett)

When she was younger, Alicia had a deaf sister. The two of them did not know any sign language, so they created their own language to be able to speak with each other. Eventually her sister went to a deaf program and learned ASL, soon teaching it to Alicia so she could learn. After growing up watching her mother be a teacher, Alicia loved it and combined her passion for teaching with her background in ASL, teaching it to preschool students who were deaf and hard of hearing.

“It was a lot of fun and a learning experience,” said Ms. Alicia. “And I quickly learned that I don’t want to work with preschool or elementary, but it was a rich and rewarding experience.”

Ms. Alicia then began to work with students in college and high school, who she says are her favorite. 

“You can talk to them like normal [people],” she says. 

Students seem to react positively to Ms. Alicia’s personality and teaching style, which is more laidback and relatable, as well as the material as whole.

“It’s a good thing to learn,” said freshman Spencer Hunt, who is currently enrolled in ASL II. “[The teacher] is nice and lets us have fun with our assignments.”

Alicia enjoys teaching her students and helping them understand ASL. 

“Teaching ASL is like teaching you a little bit about my world…Some kids will come back and say [they’ve used ASL with a deaf person and they understood]. Little things like that are pretty cool.”