Local woman earns Deaf studies, national sign language honors

Vicki Johnson-Sherbrooke

In mid-May, Vicki Johnson-Sherbrooke, who works in housekeeping for Riverwood Healthcare Center at its Garrison clinic, graduated with high honors earning a Deaf Studies Certificate at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. The program covered the basics about American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf culture.

Johnson-Sherbrooke, who moved from the Twin Cities to Aitkin in 2006, comments about her personal experience with deafness: “I was born hard of hearing and because of nerve damage, I became deaf at age 32. After 14 years of speech therapy, I can lipread and speak well. My two years of studies at CLC have given me a better understanding of Deaf culture. Someday I hope to become a deaf mentor, working with hearing parents and their young hearing-impaired children to develop better communication skills with ASL.”

Johnson-Sherbrooke earned a national honor as the second place winner in the American Sign Language Honor Society literature competition. She won in the “native” category with an original number story titled “Banana Thief”. This year’s theme was number stories or the art of storytelling using manual ASL numbers to tell a story in sign language. An ASL storyteller tells a story based on the handshapes of ASL signs from the handshape 1 to 10 or further. For example, “1” for A PERSON WALKS, “2” for SEE, “3” for MISCHIEVOUS and so on.

The national ASL competition serves as a platform to celebrate the meaningful integration of classroom learning with the wider community, allowing participants to showcase their creativity and linguistic skills.

See Johnson-Sherbrooke signing for this competition in a YouTube video

Johnson-Sherbrooke is happy to speak about deafness and sign language in the community. Contact her at vljohnson03@gmail.com