Deaf Santa, with his knowledge of sign language, brought tidings of love and joy to the lobby of the Oxford High School Performing Arts Center for a few hours Saturday, Dec. 7.
The event was hosted by Christie DeSano’s advanced American Sign Language class at Oxford High School.
Every November and December Deaf Santa (Scott Powers of Rochester) visits deaf children all over Southeast Michigan at events and fund-raisers.
Powers said, as a young boy, he was frustrated because he could not tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas. “Deaf
children need a Santa who they can communicate with because it’s extremely important to each child to get their wish list to Santa each year. Now children are thrilled to meet a Santa who not only knows how to sign, but is deaf himself too!”
Those who attended enjoyed games, arts and crafts, refreshments, and pictures with Santa. Deaf Santa enjoyed handing out toys to the children. He also took a break from his chair to play games with the children and his elves.
The event was both for the hearing impared and folks who can hear. Students were able to teach sign language. About 30 people attended, which DeSano thinks is pretty good, since the event was scheduled for the same time as Oxford’s annual Christmas parade.
“We’ll schedule a better time next year,” she said. “I thought for our first time hosting, it was a great success. Our goal was to connect deaf students to Deaf Santa.”
Powers was impressed how students planned the event because he usually sets up his own events throughout the season. “All credit goes to Mrs. DeSano’s ASL class at Oxford High School for planning this with not much help from Deaf Santa!” he said.
The class plans events throughout the year and students sign up for which events they want to help run. “It wasn’t a one person job,” said OHS sophomore Zeiden Marshall. “We had a large team within the class working on the event plus the support of everyone else in the ASL program.”
This was the first year for Deaf Santa to visit Oxford, but the class hopes to make it a yearly event going forward, and are already in the planning stages for next year.
Deaf Santa said he enjoyed signing with the ASL students and learning their plans for after high school. “I was very impressed how fluent the students were even though they were in high school! Mrs. DeSano is a very good teacher who takes a lot of pride in what she does,” he said.
Deaf Santa accepts donations to help pay for photos and toys he gives to children through his Go Fund Me page: gofundme.com/f/deaf-santa-needs-your-help.