‘Silent Weekend’ attracts more than 200 participants to ‘Greatest Show on Eyeth’

Brendan Park leads a group discussion in American Sign Language during "Silent Weekend" conference at St. George Academy, St. George, Utah, Feb. 23, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — At the ninth annual “Southern Utah Silent Weekend” conference, participants were invited to join “The Greatest Show on Eyeth.”

Silent Weekend committee chairman Lorell Loosle explained the term “Eyeth” refers to a world where “eye” or vision-based communication is primarily used, as opposed to Earth or “Ear-th” which overwhelmingly relies on hearing and vocal speech.

The weekend kicked off with an opening-night screening of “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” at the Megaplex Theaters in Pineview. Some 120 participants attended, including members of the deaf and hard of hearing community.

Then, on Feb. 23, at Saint George Academy, some 200 participants attended various discussions, lectures, workshops and other activities throughout the day. Many of the attendees were American Sign Language learners from Dixie, Snow Canyon and Desert Hills high schools, in addition to students and staff from Dixie State University and Saint George Academy. They were joined by numerous community members who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Participants had pledged to use ASL and other silent means of communication exclusively throughout the day, resulting in a near-silent environment during the circus-themed conference.

Participants communicate using American Sign Language during “Silent Weekend” conference at Saint George Academy, St. George, Utah, Feb. 23, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The five workshop classes, which were conducted by professors, students and members of the deaf community, were titled Eyeth vs. Earth, Deaf Art or De’VIA (Deaf View/Image Art), ASL through Music, ASL Slang, and ASL Movement.

Presenters included Diane Acosta, Jody Gerber, Jacob Gerber, Autumn Adair, Tiffany Harding and Allyson Hamilton.

“Each class was well-attended and the participants had great things to say about the classes,” Loosle said. “We also had many Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) and CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) participate in a group discussion teaching students about what is like to grow up in the Deaf community.”

“The favorite part of the weekend for most participants was learning about the DHH community in our area and getting to know them better,” Loosle added as she thanked those who attended, along with the program’s sponsors.

For more information about the event and related activities, visit the Southern Utah ASL Facebook page.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.


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