MVE teacher reaches out through Sign Club

  • Ethan Jones makes the sign for “I love you” while standing with local educator Shelynda Jones who has been teaching Ethan’s family and friends how to communicate with him through American Sign Language. (Contributed photo)
Mountain View Elementary

At a very young age, Ethan Jones was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. He received chemo, radiation treatments and three mini stem cell transplants. These treatments were successful in his battle against cancer; however, the radiation treatments affected his hearing and now he is suffering from hearing loss.
“He has shown amazing courage and resilience,” stated Principal Lottie Mitchell, speaking of the young man who was a fourth grader at Mountain View Elementary last school year. 
She went on to share how Shelynda Jones, a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing for the Gilmer County School System, recently began teaching Ethan sign language. These efforts soon grew into a larger scale project. 
“Some of Ethan’s friends mentioned to their parents that they would like to learn sign language so they could sign with Ethan. The students’ parents approached Ms. Jones about teaching their children sign language also,” Mitchell recalled. 

When Shelynda realized that the instructional day ended at 3:05 p.m. but the buses did not leave MVE until 3:35 p.m., she then took the initiative to form and host the after school MVE Sign Language Club during that period of extra time that some students had at the end of the day.  

“More than 30 fourth grade students took their free time twice a week to learn sign language,” Mitchell remarked, looking back to last school year. “Ms. Jones has also volunteered her time to meet with Ethan’s extended family one night a week so they can learn to sign with Ethan … Ethan Jones is an extraordinary young man and Ms. Shelynda Jones is an extraordinary teacher.”
Shelynda said of the teaching experience, “It is such a joy to watch a community becoming invested in the life of this awesome child!”
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