“There was no sign language interpreter at the State of the Union address,” notes LoVasco, a second-semester student at Macomb. “That’s not acceptable. People don’t realize how many deaf people there are in this country and they need to have access to important events.”
An innate curiosity led LoVasco to first learn American Sign Language (ASL) on YouTube right before her second daughter was born. Discovering that she “absolutely adored it,” the Eastpointe resident progressed to online tutorials and, then, began teaching both of her daughters to sign.
“Children can learn to sign before they are ever able to communicate verbally,” notes LoVasco. “My youngest could sign ‘eat,’ ‘more’ and ‘all done’ by the time she was six months old.”
On her own since she was 15, LoVasco, like her partner Adam, is a tattoo artist. After her second daughter was born, however, she decided to stay home until both girls were in class during the day. Kai, eight, and Eva, five, began attending the same Montessori school last fall and, with Adam’s encouragement, mom became a student as well.
“This is my first go at college,” says LoVasco, 34, “and I have had a great experience at Macomb so far.”
Intent on becoming a sign language interpreter, LoVasco is currently taking American Sign Language I at Macomb, as well as an online psychology class. Last semester, she took introduction to computers and medical terminology, earning As in both. Another high point in her college career came this past February, when LoVasco volunteered with some of her classmates and their instructor, Beth Aylesworth, to teach members of Girl Scout Troop 75941 how to sign in order to earn their ASL badge.
“I have a Daisy at home, so I was thrilled. We taught them how to sign the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout Promise, and we had a lot of fun,” says LoVasco. “I am also thrilled that the Girl Scouts promote this. More people should have some type of sign language training.”
LoVasco intends to take as many credits at Macomb as possible before transferring to a college or university that offers a bachelor’s degree in sign language. She practices signing regularly with her daughters, for whom she wants to serve as a role model. That was another motivation for her to become a college student.
“I try showing my girls that anything is possible,” says LoVasco. “But I tell them: ‘Don’t wait. You’ve got to go to college right after high school.’”
LoVasco is philosophical about the circumstances that prevented her from attending college until she was in her 30s. “Everything happens for a reason,” she offers. And while it certainly hasn’t been easy balancing schoolwork with being mom to “two social butterflies,” it hasn’t been as difficult as she imagined it might be.
“I don’t know if I’m lucky or just have awesome kids, but they know when I need quiet time. My one daughter brought me a cup of coffee when I was studying the other day and told me, ‘Mommy I think you need this,’” relates LoVasco. “It was a little cold, but it was the best cup of coffee, ever. I drank every drop.”