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Students learn sign language at Beloit Health System

March 30, 2017
By Aaron Wilson'99

ALS sign language class

Students are now taking a beginner's sign language course at Beloit Health System. Left to right, front row: Renata Goetz‘16, Alisa Ryckert‘17, Lesetta Thompson (Instructor), Katylyn Frew‘17, Aaron Glavin‘18​; back row: Aaron Wilson‘99


An interest in sign language at Beloit College is nothing new. Students have requested the opportunity to learn to sign and have taken the community course offered through the Beloit Health System in the past. Now the Learning Enrichment and Disability Services (LEADS) is providing transportation to the 10-week Monday night class.

After the success of the GaySL: A Crash Course in LGBTQ American Sign Language event in December 2016, which brought entertainer Hayden Kristal to campus, the interest in learning sign language spiked.

Aaron Glavin, LEADS learning assistant, armed with the knowledge that Beloit Health System offered a class, organized a group of students interested in the class by networking through the GaySL Facebook event page. Through the support of  LEADS Department Coordinator Aaron Wilson offered transportation to Beloit Health System to attend the beginners class, which began Monday, February 6.

During registration for the course, the instructor politely jibed Aaron Wilson for his mustache because she could not read his lips when he spoke, so for 10 weeks you can see Aaron without his Groucho Marx.

The instructor, Lesetta Thompson, is knowledgeable, fun, and quick to laugh. She is a retiree who worked at Beloit Memorial Hospital as a medical records clerk. She studied Sign Language at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf located in Delavan, Wis.

She laughs and snaps her fingers together saying, “No,” every time her students confuse the signs for ‘choose’ with ‘shoes’ and ‘full (container)’ with ‘full (had enough food).’

For information about upcoming classes, Lesetta can be reached by email at