Strickland Signs Up as ILA’s new ASL Teacher

Gabriel Villahermosathe passing the torch

ASL course at ILA to continue this spring under a new teacher, CODA Sabrina Strickland.

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ASL course at ILA to continue this spring under a new teacher, CODA Sabrina Strickland.

Chloe Lyon, Reporter

When ILA Meridian’s ASL teacher Gabriel Villahermosathe decided to step down from teaching the subject for the spring semester, the course’s future seemed in jeopardy.

Enter Sabrina Strickland.

Strickland, an ILA parent and a recent Idaho transplant, is also a CODA—a child of deaf adults. And she arrived at just the right time.

Strickland and Villahermosathe will be working together to keep ILA’s ASL course open as long as possible.

“With a similar heart and goal, we have decided to take a team approach in teaching ASL depending upon our availability each semester as it comes so that ILA can have ongoing access to signed language and the deaf community,” Villahermosathe said.

For Gabriel, a reduction in his load and an increase Sabrina’s felt like a natural course of action.

Sabrina’s first language is ASL, so she did not need to go to school for ASL.

“But I did go to school to major in deaf education,” she said.

Her title as a CODA uniquely impacts our community, as her membership in the Deaf community is considered at a more intimate level than those who simply learn the language in a classroom setting.

Sabrina is excited to teach at ILA because she gets to share her culture with people. She wants the kids that she teaches next semester to learn something from the class and use it in their life. 

Villahermosathe intends to return even as he takes a break.

“I am teaching at ILA because I saw an awesome opportunity to share Sign Language with a community of people,” he said, but admitted he needed to pause teaching in the spring because, “[teaching] has required more time than I hoped and I need to continue my work in the language.”