St. Mary’s School for the Deaf shares sign language in music video

Sep 29, 2016

September marks National Deaf Awareness Month and we bring you a story about students at St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says they recently created an American Sign Language music video.  

St. Mary's School for the Deaf student in the video.
Credit Photo from the St. Mary's School for the Deaf music video

This year marks the 30th anniversary of popstar Cyndi Lauper's True Colors. Students selected the acoustic version of True Colors to translate the lyrics from English to ASL. 

Scott Gentzke, Dean of Students and Director of Residential Services at St. Mary's.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“It’s another creative outlet. It’s a different interpretation to the song. You do hear music, you do hear the lyrics, but you can also see the performance signing,” said Scott Gentzke, Dean of Students and Director of Residential Services at St. Mary's. 

Gentzke tells WBFO News the students created story ideas.

“They were excited,” Gentzke explained. “Taking the lyrics and translating it to ASL, coming up with story ideas, volunteering as actors and getting involved in the creative aspect, and they are want to do more,” said Gentzke.

Gentzke tells WBFO News watching the students in the video is pure ‘poetry in motion'.  

“Everything that is going on in the world today. What you see in the news. It’s sad. People are divided, the country is divided – this is a nice way to come together and say ‘look no matter who you are on the outside, it doesn’t matter, what matters is who you are on the inside,” Gentzke stated.

The St. Mary's School for the Deaf students are following a trend in deaf culture by creating a video in hopes of going viral.

"We’re hoping as many people, not only in Western New York, New York State and nationally view this video,” said Timothy Kelly, School Superintendent. 

said Timothy Kelly, School Superintendent.Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen BuckleyEdit | Remove

Kelly said they are very proud of the students’ video work. This school year St. Mary's marks its 164th year of teaching students. St. Mary’s is a school that is experiencing a rise in enrollment.

“We have diversified programming. We have a total communications program. We also have an oral program where students do not use sign language, so we’re excited about the school year. We’re off to a great start,” Kelly remarked.

In the music video the students start out individually using sign language to the lyrics, toward the end, you’ll watch a series of students linking hands in a powerful display of how they communicate.