ASL show proves to be a success when returning to stage


Olivia Mendoza

Natalie Cooney, ASL 3 students, ASL 4 students, and technology crew thanking the audience for their support to conclude the performance of the ASL show.

Olivia Mendoza

Over 200 tickets were sold for the 15th annual ASL Variety Show on Saturday, April 9. As tension and nerves ran high for everyone, the pressure grew even more when ASL teacher, Natalie Cooney, shared that Chino Valley Board members were also sitting in the crowd. While this was the first in-person show for Cooney who is newly tenured, the stakes were higher than ever. Regardless of how everyone felt prior to the start of the show, the performance was eye-catching and more entertaining than expected. 

“This night was very special for me because it was my only and last show,” senior Lily Ballou said. “I have vivid memories of watching this show my freshman year and getting to be a part of it my senior year was an amazing experience.” 

With a total of 18 songs, along with an intermission, the show had everything ranging from musicals, to classic Disney movies, and even ABC stories. 

ABC stories are a form of storytelling utilizing the ASL alphabet, and with a central theme, the audience can interpret what the presenter is saying even without knowing anything about sign language. 

“I was chosen after submitting a story for extra credit,” junior and ASL 2 student Dottie Barrera said. “My story was about growing up and going from being a kid to an awkward teen to finally finding yourself.” 

Three students displayed their ABC stories during the show. However, there was some miscommunication between the interpreters and signers throughout the performance. 

“It was strange because the interpreters were trying to translate what I was saying in my ABC story instead of reading the script,” Barrera said. “It was choppy and was not paced correctly with my signing.” 

While the performance was almost flawless, the real recognition goes to the unsung heroes of the show. The technician team, led by senior Jonny Champion, ensured that all the lighting and audio was transferred over from the MPR to the gym. 

“I felt a ton of stress during the process because I only had three days essentially to get it together and only had from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. on the day of the show to get it ready,” said Champion. “Normally I get 1-2 weeks to design, so this was definitely not the normal for me.” 

With the show set to start at 5:30 pm, ASL students, technicians, and volunteers began dress rehearsal at 9:00 am that day. Running through the show three times before the actual performance, students completed practice filled with costumes and props, adding any final touches before the curtain call. 

While the underclassmen in the ASL program had minimal roles ranging from sign holders, ushers, and spotlight signalers, upon entering ASL 3 these students will be able to partake in larger roles. 

Seniors in ASL 4 had main roles in every song, which comes along with experience and seniority. Students in ASL 3 had second choice, meaning that for most songs, they played supporting roles. 

“I do think I missed some opportunities to be directly in the spotlight, but I’m not upset about it because it is their show that they put on,” said Ballou. “I’m just glad to have been a part of it.”