CCC ASL grads: All for one, one for all


From left to right, American Sign Language students Hope Brosseau, Loriann Gigous, Geoff Smith, Roberta Estala and Eve Hansen show off their ASL skills before they all graduate from CCC on May 13.


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- They let their hands do the talking for the benefit of Deaf people. It’s why they went to Coconino Community College.

Now, five students in the American Sign Language program will graduate from CCC with their associate’s degree on May 13.

“I had no idea what I was going to learn when I started, but I’m very happy with what I learned,” said CCC ASL student Roberta Estala of what she enjoyed most about the program.

Student Loriann Gigous said, “For me, it was the people,” adding that the teachers were amazing, the majority of whom were Deaf.

Student Hope Brosseau, said, “We had the opportunity to interpret for one person to 150. We had a variety of experiences.”

Student Eve Hansen said, “I enjoyed the commitment of the teachers to give practical experience for the field.”

Student Geoff Smith said he learned not only a language, but also different viewpoints and perspectives of the Deaf culture and community.

“They come together and support all of us trying to be future interpreters,” Smith said.

The five students spent most of their education going through the program together, which offered them a unique experience at the College.

“You get to know people,” Smith said. “You rely on them and grow together.”

Hansen said the togetherness created a safe environment that allowed each of them to challenge one another to be the best interpreters they can be.

Brosseau said, “It was also interesting to see what we learned from each other in the process. We all bring our own strengths and perspectives.”

Hansen agreed and said that when they watched one another in the interpreting role, their different takes on expression were evident.

Gigous said, “We all come from such different backgrounds,” adding that she appreciated what her fellow students brought to the table, which enriched the program for her. “To have that as a part of our training has been a real blessing.”

Estala said she found it interesting how all of her fellow classmates’ experiences gelled and created a comfort of being part of a group.

The fact that they all made it through such a rigorous program shows the commitment is there to the ASL interpreting profession.

“This has been the foundation,” Estala said.

The next phase of their training is now up to them. They all agreed they have been given the tools to take the certification tests and move forward. Now, they have a wide variety of paths to specialize in, and they will, sadly, move on their separate ways, but not before expressing their gratitude for ASL Interpreter Training Program Coordinator Sarah Benton. They all credited Benton’s ethics, professionalism and passion for the program and her insistence of going above and beyond the call of duty to provide and connect the students with valuable resources for making them successful.

“I feel we’re always going to reflect positively on our foundation,” Gigous said.

Gigous added her future plans are to work in Deaf ministry or the legal field. Brosseau said she’s hopeful to be a counselor who signs and wants to work in the trauma field. Estala is interested in educational interpreting, but her ultimate goal could be to work in medical interpreting. Hansen said her goal is to begin working in the Flagstaff Deaf community in a variety of experiences. Smith wants to work in the education field and hopes for a master’s in Deaf education.

All five students said one thing is certain.

“We’ll forever be students in a sense,” Brosseau said. “We’ll never stop learning.”


Wednesday, 20th April 2016

All Dates

  • Wednesday, 20th April 2016