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SignWriting List
October 14, 2013

Hello SW List:
I am posting a report and video by Denny Voreck, who is a member of the Deaf Action Committee for SignWriting (the DAC). (thank you Denny ;-)

Natasha Escalada-Westland is an ASL teacher at a high school in Tucson, Arizona … Natasha has used SignWriting as an integral part of teaching ASL for a decade. Since Denny lives in Arizona, I asked Denny to drive to Tucson to present to Natasha's ASL class… thank you for voicing for Denny, Natasha.

Denny's presentation was recorded on an iPad, which is now posted on YouTube. I really enjoyed watching the presentation. You did a great job, Denny!

I particularly like the part where the students wrote their names in SignWriting for Denny to read…smile…. and your mime and acting performance, Denny, was wonderful too …. Val ;-)

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REPORT ON MY PRESENTATION TO AN ASL CLASS AT CATALINA MAGNET HIGH SCHOOL IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
by Denny Voreck, September 6, 2013. See YouTube Video: http://youtu.be/pQq4TfUzrIk

My name is Denny Voreck.  I learned about SignWriting when I met Valerie Sutton at Lucinda O'Grady Batch 's wedding in San Diego during the early 1990’s.  She showed me some samples of SignWriting, which seemed to be an innovative idea.  I told her that I was interested to work with her on this project.  I joined the Deaf Action Committee for SignWriting (the DAC) and recruited Bonita Ewan to join the DAC as well.  I invited Abdulaziz Al-Obaid from Saudi Arabia for an interview about SignWriting  which is posted on the SignWriting website.  My main project for the DAC was to write down ASL signs in SignWriting for a dictionary in the SignWriter DOS computer program  which I did for several years, until 1994, when I moved to Riverside to teach at the California School for the Deaf for five years. I was out of touch with Valerie for many years.  Several months ago, I contacted her to express my interest in returning to work for the SignWriting organization once again.

Last month, in September 2013, I was invited to give a presentation about SignWriting and Deaf Culture to Natasha Escalada-Westland 's ASL class at the Catalina Magnet High School in Tucson, Arizona. Thanks, Natasha for inviting me to give a presentation in your classroom, and thank you for voicing in English for me during my ASL presentation. The full presentation in ASL, with English voicing, is posted on YouTube: http://youtu.be/pQq4TfUzrIk

The presentation was productive and was videotaped by my iPad by student volunteers.  The presentation topics included  1) how SignWritng was started by Valerie Sutton in Copenhagen, Denmark due to a fateful encounter with a professor at the University of Copenhagen  2) Deaf Culture like deaf people tend to be more blunt and open-minded than hearing counterparts are 3) Deaf History, especially how did the first permanent deaf school in America, American School for the Deaf, become established in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817?, and 4) my background being raised in a deaf family.  The students were enlightened to learn more about SignWriting and Deaf Culture.

I would like to see several deaf schools and deaf classrooms at mainstreaming schools have a pilot program to use SignWriting to see if it is working for deaf and hard of hearing students, especially improving their literacy skills.  It is a great tool to record communication by sign language users.  English translation of signing is often inaccurate and misinterpreted.  My greatest concern is that nowadays more deaf people are eradicated globally due to rapidly advanced technology like cochlear implants and alteration of human genes (removing deafness genes). I feel SignWriting will preserve the native sign languages of the Deaf around the world and therefore help to preserve our history and culture.

Denny Voreck
October 12, 2013

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