ASL and interpreter training program raises funds in talent show

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Rea and Barbara Hinrichs Scholarship fund has more than $40,000.

By J. Carbajal

One in 300 people who attended the 10th annual American Sign Language and interpreter training program’s annual talent show March 4 left $150 richer.

Deaf interpreter Michael Razzen won half of the money raised in the sale of raffle tickets at the performance in the auditorium of McAllister Fine Arts Center.

The program raised $300 in a 50-50 raffle, in which half went to the raffle winner.

All announcements made on stage were signed and interpreted, including the master of ceremonies Instructor Brian Barwise. The interpreters were Stephanie Rotheram and Melissa Slocumb, both Alamo Colleges interpreters.

The program started staging the talent shows after Instructor Julie Razuri had one of her classes perform a routine. Razuri wanted her students to be able to share the skills they had learned in ASL classes with the community, Barwise signed.

While the crowd filed in and following the intermission, videos from previous talent shows were displayed on the theater’s screen.

The show opened with the ASL Gleek Squad’s performance of the Madison Rising cover of the national anthem.

Current and former students performed visually appealing acts for a crowd of hearing and deaf audience members.

The acts ranged from performances of interpreted songs to a “roast” of ASL faculty members, which included students dressed in parodied costumes to look like their instructors.

One student wore fake dreadlocks as she pretended to be Jo Hilton, interpreting services manager.

Songs interpreted included the Little Mermaid’s “A Part of Your World,” “It’s Raining Men” by the Weather Girls and others.

Sara Ann Becerra, a child of deaf adults, signed an anecdote about growing up and interpreting television shows for her father before closed captioning was added to televisions.

Solomon Olayeye, a deaf man, performed an impassioned ASL poem, “I Want a Special Woman I Can Give My Heart To.”

Dances were also popular acts.

Vanessa Vance, ASL sophomore, performed a dance to “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper in her wheelchair, and former student Jennifer De La Rosa and her husband, Robert De La Rosa, danced together to a medley of country songs.

Each academic year, two interpreting and deaf support specialist students are chosen to receive $500 from the Rea and Barbara Hinrichs Scholarship Fund.

The fund is named after the parents of Chair Lauri Metcalf, who did not want something named after her because she is “not dead yet.”

During the show, Metcalf signed that they have already been able to help 20 students and still have over $40,000 in their fund.

The price of admission was a $10 donation, which, along with contributions from faculty and community members, went toward the scholarship fund.


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