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Kindergarteners surprise Deaf custodian by signing Happy Birthday!

deaf custodian

A class of kindergarteners in Tullahoma, Tennessee wanted to surprise their Deaf school custodian, Anthony James, by wishing him a very happy 60th birthday in sign language!

As soon as James walked into the classroom and saw the kids signing his reaction showed how much this gesture meant to him. A huge smile spread across his face, his jaw dropped and he threw his hands up in surprise.  He looked elated and happy to see the kids signing. 

James has been working at Hickerson Elementary school for 15 years and he has had a positive impact on the students and staff at the school. 

“Mr. James teaches the kids sign language every now and then, teaches them good manners and how to treat other people,” Jimmy Anderson, Hickerson Elementary school principal said to NowThis News.

The school explained to the Charlotte Observer, that this was a last minute surprise. The kindergarteners are definitely quick learners!

“He was overwhelmed with it. It just was a spur of the moment thing and they just did it. He had his hands over his face, at the end he was tearing up. It just touched him,” Hickerson Elementary secretary Bonnie Scott said in a phone interview with McClatchy.

This video went viral and many people from the Deaf community are excited to share it. This includes model and activist Nyle DiMarco.

Do you want to learn sign language?

Do you know someone that uses sign language or you are interested in learning the beautiful language? Here are some ways you can get started.

1. Sign up for a class!

Sign language classes are available in many education centers including community colleges. Classes are not only a great way to learn the language, but also to learn more about Deaf culture. Grab a friend and join a class to get you started!

2. Learn the basics on YouTube

Many Deaf activists want sign language to be accessible online. You can learn signs just by watching videos on YouTube!

There are many other ways to start learning sign language, see them all here!

Author Details
The HearingLikeMe editorial team includes Jill Blocker von Bueren and Lisa Goldstein.