May 18, 2021

BraveLIFE first grader inspired CES second graders to learn sign language

The CES “Zebras”: (Top Row L-R): Memphis Roberts, Libby Barronton, Phoenix Robinson, Gracie Steele, Mrs. Christa (Middle L-R): Maggie Kelley, Andi Cook, Emma McClain, Adonis McCormick (Front L-R): Hudson Arp, Susie Barton, Kensley Shell, Hank Stephens, and Luke Summerlin (not pictured Benjamin Ozley, Anna Barnett, Bailey Putman, and Hayden Parmer)

(Centralhatchee, GA) — The second graders at Centralhatchee Elementary School made big headlines for Heard County last week when they made a television appearance on 11 Alive News from Atlanta.

Inspired by South Fulton County Fire Captain Andrea Hall, who signed the Pledge of Allegiance at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the CES second-grade class proudly sharing a video of them doing the same.

The Atlanta news station broadcast the video to its large contingent of viewers on January 25.

Hall, the first Black female fire captain in South Fulton, was applauded for the gesture, which many saw as recognizing and including the deaf community on a national stage.

The two CES second grade classes, known collectively as “The Zebra Turtles,” have actually been learning to sign since the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

The “Zebras” are taught by Mrs. Christa Lohr and the “Turtles” are taught by Mrs. Brittany Dorsey.

Mrs. Dorsey’s daughter Drew, a first grade student at Heard County Elementary School, was the first motivation for the CES second graders to begin learning sign language.

HCES first grader Drew Dorsey signing “I love you.” (Photo: Brittany Dorsey)

Drew is nonverbal and autistic so Mrs. Dorsey enjoys teaching her students to communicate in a different way.

The Zebra Turtles had already learned to sign the alphabet, numbers, and they even learned to sign Christmas songs in December.

When Mrs. Dorsey saw Andrea Hall say and sign the Pledge of Allegiance she was so excited to share it with her students.

The students were impressed and inspired to want to learn the Pledge as well.

“They learned it very quickly and did an amazing job,” said Mrs. Dorsey. “Everyone at Centralhatchee Elementary is so proud of their hard work!”

Drew is an integral part of the BraveLIFE program at HCES.

The mascot of the school system is “Braves” and the program which educates these most inspirational students is known as the BraveLIFE program.

The “LIFE” stands for Learning Is For Everyone.

The acronym was borrowed from a program at Clemson University which provides opportunities for students with disabilities.

The BraveLIFE program is housed at Heard County Elementary, Middle, and High schools.

The learning opportunities abound as teachers push children to acquire lifelong skills and integrate their students into the very heart of the schools.

The backbone of the BraveLIFE program is Braves Coffee Company which began in 2017.

Click here to visit Centralhatchee Elementary’s Facebook page.

The CES “Turtles”: (Back L-R): Bryce Boyd, Luke Summerlin, Payton Dumas, and M.J. Ruiz (Middle L-R): Rylan Downing, Hank Lane, Addison McCullough, Aubrie Mathews, and Mrs. Dorsey (Front L-R): Huntley Taylor, Brayden Trevino, Kansas Williams, Karoline Johnson, and Kendrick Thomaston (Not pictured Kylie Kilgore and Sophia Morton)

 

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