All signs point to big future for Lacey Drolsbaugh

Graduating+high+school+might+have+been+a+hassle%2C+but+it+was+all+worth+it+because+Lacey+Drolsbaugh+now+has+her+tassel.+%0A

Maureen Gambogi

Graduating high school might have been a hassle, but it was all worth it because Lacey Drolsbaugh now has her tassel.

Signs have many different functions. Road signs regulate the rules of the road. Zodiac signs predict an individual’s future. North Penn graduate, Lacey Drolsbaugh, signed to Gallaudet University to reestablish the world of sign language. 

Instead of graduating in June of her senior year, Drolsbaugh went directly from her junior year to taking classes during the summer in order to graduate after the first semester of her senior year. She officially gradated this month. With no summer break and doing schoolwork nonstop, the new North Penn graduate is happy she made the decision to take the path of graduating early and starting her journey to college as soon as possible. 

Hearing loss was nothing new when Drolsbaugh was diagnosed with being deaf at the age of fifteen. Growing up with parents and an older brother that are hard of hearing, Drolsbaugh has been surrounded by the deaf community her whole life. 

“I think it widened my perspective on life in general and it also has a whole other culture to it. The deaf world is a small world where everyone knows everyone. That family type of dynamic with the culture is honestly so special and I love it. It gets me through everything,” Drolsbaugh stated.

Drolsbaugh had her heart set on Gallaudet University when applying for colleges since it is based around people who have hearing loss and creates an inclusive space for the deaf community. Following in her parents’ footsteps, as alumni of Gallaudet University, the decision to go to a school with people who have gone through similar experiences is one that she has been eager to make. 

I’m definitely going to go into it on a positive note. Everyone there understands what it’s like to have hearing loss. They know how to make things accessible. The school even has wider hallways for when you’re walking with someone, you can sign and look at each other”

— Lacey Drolsbaugh

“I’m definitely going to go into it on a positive note. Everyone there understands what it’s like to have hearing loss. They know how to make things accessible. The school even has wider hallways for when you’re walking with someone, you can sign and look at each other,” Drolsbaugh said.

“It was draining and it did feel like a very long process but it was definitely worth it for where I am about to go and all the stuff I’m about to experience,” Drolsbaugh explained.

The inspiration to teach American sign language (ASL) to high school students was sparked by Drolsbaugh’s difficult time when she transitioned to high school. Feeling singled out and discriminated against was a challenging obstacle that was hard to overcome.    

“I just don’t want any other student to go through what I did, especially not deaf or hard-of-hearing students. I want to spread sign language and just make life more accessible. Even if I just teach one person sign language, it’ll still make life more accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing,” Drolsbaugh expressed. 

Most people think of virtual school as a phase of Covid. For Drolsbaugh, she saw virtual school as an opportunity to accommodate for herself. Transitioning from in-person school to online school in February of 2022 was a step that dramatically improved Drolsbaugh’s mental health. As an incoming student to Gallaudet University, this North Penn graduate is looking forward to being back in the classroom surrounded by people that have gone through the same struggles that she has been through.  

“Since it is so much more accessible, I will finally be able to have an accessible education in person with a bunch of people. All the teachers sign, all the students there know sign, and sign language is a class in your first year there so I feel like I will mostly be in person which I’m really excited about because I have not been in forever,” Drolsbaugh stated.

Continuing to learn and improve sign language is something Drolsbaugh looks forward to enhancing in the near future. With sign language all around her, she can’t wait to dig deep into the language and learn more about the culture. Not only that, Drolsbaugh is excited to connect with something so close to her with education. The future teacher looks forward to providing for other students and changing the narrative for herself. 

“Just be nice. You don’t know what people are going through or what they went through to get where they are. A lot of people are very judgemental nowadays and pick at every little thing. Just be nice. You never know what someone is going through,” Drolsbaugh concluded.