DUGGER, Ind. (WTHI) – When you think of learning a foreign language, you probably wouldn’t think of sign language. That’s not the case for students at Dugger Elementary School.

They have a class that teaches the children American Sign Language. Tracy Hunt first taught junior high and high school students through a sign language club. It eventually grew into teaching sign language classes to elementary school students. Teaching these students hits home for her.

“I am a deaf person, and it was not used around me growing up, and so I am a huge advocate for it, and I don’t think it is, it’s not available around here at all,” said Hunt.

Ms. Tracy teaches students the alphabet, numbers and basic vocabulary words. She wants to help people carry on a conversation with someone that is deaf, or hard of hearing. Ms. Tracy said it’s important to learn this language at a young age.

“They’re sponges and they take it all in. They’re really excited about it. I love these kids. They’re my kids too,” said Hunt. While learning a new language can be hard, students said they’re grateful to have Ms. Tracy there to help.

“We learned how the sign the alphabet. We learned how to sign numbers. We learned how to sign the national anthem. I’m really good at it now,” said Izaiyah Golish.

Ms. Tracy said she hopes other schools see how important these classes are.

“They’re really taking it in, you know they’re learning and they’re growing and they’re using what they’re learning and they will never know how much it means to me. You know I want it to spread and grow and continue. There’s no reason why other schools aren’t doing this,” said Hunt.

Ms. Tracy said she never expected the program to ever get this big. She’s looking forward to it continuing to grow and helping teach people American Sign Language.