Community HS ASL seniors sign ‘Stand Up’ as a reflection of a challenging year

The Community High School seniors in Jen Niner’s ASL class had wanted to perform a meaningful song for their fellow students at school.

But because American Sign Language is a facial language requiring facial expressions, they decided to perform Cynthia Erivo’s “Stand Up” in their homes on Zoom.

“I really think my seniors deserve all the credit in the world,” says Niner, who also teaches ASL at Pathways. “This song took at least a month to learn, definitely one of our harder songs to do. They did it and my heart is exploding, I will miss these students so much they have taken on so much this past year and to pull this off is more than I could have ever asked for.”

The seniors in the video are: Ella Anderson, John Bodenham, Elliot Goebel, Kiyelle Hopes, Elenaor Niman, Helen Schmitter, Damien Senn, Grace Thomas, and Cassandra Zrull.

Niner and ASL teacher Caitlyn Feasel edited the piece.

Why this particular song?

“The students and I thought with all the issues we had this year and so much inequality, we wanted to express a song of all of us coming together and how we can rise up, stand up, take a stand and come together with all of the social justice issues going on,” said Niner. “This also encompasses Covid as well as far as just basically overcoming adversity.”