Interpreting life through signing

GALLIPOLIS — The Bossard Memorial Library will be holding an American Sign Language workshop for the next several weeks with area interpreter and signing teacher Tricia Kestner.

This will be the first such class of its kind in Gallioplis that Kestner, of Scottown, has led. She is originally from the Dayton area. She has served as a singing interpreter for the last 15 years and served as a teacher for seven years.

“Every single country in the world has their own version of sign language,” said Kestner.

Kestner has worked with the deaf community for most of her life and said she was first inspired to learn sign language after befriending a deaf child in grade school.

“I went over to Lynn Pauley (the library’s adult programming coordinator) to ask ‘do you have anyone in the community who needs an interpreter for your programs?’” said Kestner. “I had seen that (the library) had a lot going on and thought maybe somebody out there would come if there was an interpreter.”

Pauley told her there were not many requests but it did happen from time to time. Kestner offered to teach a workshop at the library. She had previously served as an adjunct staff member teaching signing in the education department at Shawnee State University. She originally studied at Bowling Green State University with focuses in American Sign Language and Russian.

According to Kestner, her experiences with the sign language using, and the deaf communities, lead her to believe of the groups as direct and visual communicators.

“Signing leads people to describe things in a very beautiful and visual way,” she said. “Signing also teaches that one shouldn’t be afraid to point things out. A lot of hearing individuals aren’t taught to be as open with their body language when signing is very much about that. A lot of people think of pointing as rude when it’s encouraged to point to what they are speaking of.”

“I wanted to bring more (signing) to (Gallia),” said Kestner. “I’m not from around here but I have something to offer. Here’s something for (the community).”

According to Kestner and library staff, the signing workshop is full with a waiting list, currently.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

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Tricia Kestner signs the word “interpreter” in American Sign Language. Kestner signs the word “interpreter” in American Sign Language. Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

By Dean Wright