JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Two students at Mandarin High School are making a real difference at school and a big impact on their friends. Kayla Jaime-Esquilin and Joanna Byun are our Students of the Week.
Joanna Byun, a junior, and Kayla Jaime-Esquilin, a senior, are both profoundly deaf and both are great students.
Their Itinerant Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Car Wilmot nominated them for Student of the Week.
"Kayla and Joanna are two outstanding students that make you want to teach because when you present an idea to them they take it and run with it."
Together, Joanna and Kayla started an America Sign Language Club at the school to teach their friends how to sign so they can communicate.
"I've seen a significant improvement in the communication and it's really wonderful with the other students. I meet people and I'm surprised when they sign to me," said Joanna.
Kayla is also athletic and is active on the Deaf Volley Ball Team.
"We have it every Friday at the beach. I've been going for a while. It's a lot of fun. I go there sometimes every Friday," said Kayla.
They each have an interpreter at school all day long in classes, pep rallies, even for after school activities. An interpreter is required by federal law at public schools.
"I really love having an interpreter because she helps me communicate with my peers and my teachers and she also helps me to be aware of what's happening around me, and different annoucements and things like that," said Joanna.
They are getting their education and at the time teaching others around them about the deaf and how to sign.
"I want them to be aware of deaf culture and be aware of what's going on out in the world because there are a lot of deaf people around," said Kayla.
Joanna and Kayla both plan to continue their education after high school.
First Coast News