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Students at Shasta Elementary School can now communicate with their deaf and hard of hearing classmates on the playground — asking them to play, be their friend, or for help.

Dena Morosin’s fourth-grade class came up with the idea for a metal sign that shows how to say certain words in sign language. All elementary deaf and hard of hearing students attend Shasta, where they have access to interpreters and are mainstreamed into the regular classes with their peers.

Teachers at Shasta often teach simple sign language throughout the year so students can communicate with each other. The sign takes that one step further.

“It was the students’ idea,” Morosin said. “They wanted to do a school project and we talked about kids who may not feel included.”

Morosin’s class participates in the Classroom Champions program. At the beginning of the year, the class was assigned a mentor — two-time Paralympic gold medalist Deja Young — who talks virtually to students about character building skills and encourages them to do community service projects throughout the year.

Fourth-graders Ginny Guest and Eliza Jolly said the class decided they wanted to do something that would help them talk with their hard-of-hearing classmates.

“If you wanted to be their friend, you didn’t really know how to talk to them,” Eliza said.

Shasta Principal Randy Rose, who helped install the 150-pound sign, was pleased with the project.

“It educates kids on how to sign simple words so hard-of-hearing students can feel like they are part of our school,” he said.

Students came up for words to put on the sign — play, friend, peace, love, and help. Each word had the sign language symbol above it.

The sign was created by Alan Lopez and Ellie Huffman, students in Anna Aylett’s ag mechanic and leadership class at Bonanza Junior/Senior High School. Cost was about $150 for materials, which was paid for by Shasta Elementary School.