Carter Lyons shares his passion for story telling through signing


Mrs. Anderson

Senior Carter Lyons standing in front of an ASL project signing his name sign.

There he was, frivolously pedaling up a mountain on his bike, when all of a sudden, a cliff came out of nowhere. He’s falling and falling until a pegasus swoops him up and brings him safely to the ground. 

Senior Carter Lyons was standing in front of his entire ASL class signing his iconic Pegasus story to his classmates, showing an obvious passion and drive with each new sign and a clear future ahead of him. 

“We do these bike stories [in ASL],” Carter explains. “I was up there doing my thing, showing all my emotions, but my story was so random. I was biking up a hill, and then I ran off a cliff, and a random Pegasus came around that I landed on, and it took me back to the bottom of the hill. Everyone was loving it. It was such a great time and a story we still bring up today.”

Carter joined ASL his freshman year, and despite almost taking Spanish, he clearly has a knack for signing that has carried through all four years. 

Carter explains that level 1 and level 2 are the more difficult years because you have to learn all the basics before you can get to the exciting aspects, such as storytelling, but during year three when he started applying the signs he previously learned to real-life scenarios, there was no turning back. 

“Freshman year, I was actually planning on doing ASL and Spanish at the same time,” Carter said, “but then, I convinced my mom to let me just do ASL, and now she’s really happy that I took it, and she loves the language. I was always going to take it a third year for college purposes, but after the third year, that’s when I fully fell in love with it, and I was like, ‘I am doing all 4 years, and [then] I’m going to college and doing it.’”

“After the third year, that’s when I fully fell in love with it, and I was like ‘I am doing all 4 years and I’m going to college, and doing it.””

— Carter Lyons

Deciding to pursue ASL in college was a major life decision for Carter, but his appreciation for signing and love for his current ASL class made the decision considerably easier. 

Aside from Carter adoring the language itself, another aspect of the class that has fueled his interest all these years is the amazing teaching. Kimberly Anderson is the current ASL teacher, and Carter dedicates a lot of his passion to not only her teaching methods but also the environment she creates within the classroom. 

“Mrs. A. is an amazing teacher,” Carter said. “She always wants you to do your best, and she’s always very supportive about everything. The best part is, you’re in a classroom [with people] that you can trust fully. That’s why I love 3rd and 4th year. Because you get so close with the class, we feel like a little family, and Mrs. A is always there to listen to us and our lives as well as teach us.” 

In the classroom, Carter finds it very easy and comfortable to sign with his fellow students; however, his ASL skills were really put to the test when he found himself signing with a deaf person out in the real world. 

“I was at Buffalo Wild Wings,” Carter said, “and someone was in line ahead of me and they didn’t know they were getting their name called. So at first, I asked them if that was their name, and he pointed to his ear saying he was not hearing. That’s when I signed to him telling him his food was ready, and he responded thank you, and I said no problem. It was a simple conversation, but it was an amazing time, and it just made me happy.”

Carter looks forward to many more experiences like these in the future. In the meantime, ASL continues to be his favorite class in school and an amazing way to get out of his shell by signing funny, fabulous, and semi-random stories. 

“I figured out that I don’t need to hide in my shell anymore,” Carter said. “Once I realized this, expression became one of my favorite parts of ASL. You just need to come out a little bit and have fun with it. That’s how I show all the emotions in my stories; once you give into the idea that you might look a little funny making all the crazy faces and such, that’s when your stories become the best that they can be.”