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ASL Student Musically Adds to Easter Message


Kelsy J. VanBuskirk, a senior in the applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration, put her American Sign Language skills to use as she signed “Forever” by Kari Jobe at a local church on Easter morning.

The Bethel-Linden Presbyterian Church contacted Sarah S. Moore, a disability services/deaf services specialist at Penn College, asking if any of her students would be interested in interpreting the song for the sunrise worship service.

VanBuskirk signs for an appreciative Easter audience, going beyond direct translation to interpret the song's meaning for the congregation.
VanBuskirk signs for an appreciative Easter audience, going beyond direct translation to interpret the song’s meaning for the congregation.

“Kelsy volunteered her time to learn the lyrics, analyze the meaning of the words and translate the words to signs,” said Moore, a nationally certified interpreter whose services have twice been used during the Little League Baseball World Series.

“I was graciously accepted and welcomed by the church’s sweet congregation.” said VanBuskirk, of Shamokin. “It was an amazing opportunity to praise the Lord and put my sign language skills to the test.”

She earned her associate degree in occupational therapy assistant in 2017 and is scheduled to add a bachelor’s degree at spring commencement. She completed Moore’s introductory ASL class in Summer 2016 and, in her final semester, is enrolled in the second-level course.

“She makes the classroom a stress-free environment that allows us to feel free to ask questions without judgment,” she said of her instructor. “I will be able to use all of the skills she has taught me and information about the deaf culture as I pursue a career in occupational therapy to work with children. Her class will be forever valuable to me, and I know I will always be able to reach out to her for any future needs after graduation in May.”

For more about Disability Services at Penn College, call 570-320-5225 (TTY: 570-321-5528) or email.

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