Custodian Learns to Speak Sign Language


Samuel Young

Rochelle Odama signs the word, “love.” She has been speaking sign language for a few years now

Sam Young

  She twists and turns her hands to create the intricate hand signs, thinking carefully about how to form the next symbols to properly speak sign language. Rochelle Odama has decided to learn how to communicate with the deaf.

  Custodian Rochelle Odama is learning the language of the hearing impaired.

She has chosen to finish her education in sign language that she started as a child, learning from her aunt who is deaf.

  “I talk with my hands a lot and she [Odama’s aunt] said either sit on them or learn sign

language,” Odama said. “Because my hands said nothing.”

  After she realized this Odama learned basic sign language to be able to communicate

with her. In 2004, she went to a junior college and took sign language as her foreign language but didn’t learn everything she wanted to learn.

  “The class I took to in Redding, California, was only for a language credit,”

Odama said. “It was for going from one college to the next and was for interpreting [rather than speaking], so I couldn’t go much further.”

  She was active in the deaf community in the area of her college. Odama signed

whenever she had the chance whether it be at work, to her aunt, or various people she was meeting in the community.

  “I signed a lot at work at the time,” Odama said. “I also signed at the different events I

went to in the area.”

  She plans on going back to school at Tyler Junior College, and taking their interpreter

program. She isn’t as involved in the deaf community in Lindale as she was in California, but there are still events for the deaf near Lindale.

  “I went to the deaf social at Whataburger that they have every other Friday night,”

Odama said. “There was a lot of signing and I was overwhelmed with everybody moving their    hands but that just means I have to practice more.”