ASL teacher signs National Anthem at Bears game

Opportunity through Chicago Hearing Society


Krystle Conrad signs the National Anthem at Soldier Field on Nov. 13 (photo courtesy of Conrad)

Sadie Ruppert, Reporter

American Sign Language (ASL) teacher Krystle Conrad signed the National Anthem at the Chicago Bears football game on Nov. 13 at Soldier Field. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for her, she said. 

“It was an amazing experience to stand on the field of the Bears game and use my language,” Conrad said. 

She received the opportunity to sign the National Anthem at the Bears game through the Chicago Hearing Society, an organization that advocates for deaf people. This opportunity was created as a chance to show the hearing world that the deaf community deserves to be seen, and be on the screen. 

“The fact that the NFL allows us to stand on their field and sign ASL, and the Bears were enthusiastic about me coming to sign was very touching,” Conrad said. 

Conrad’s performance was on the jumbotron screen throughout the entire anthem, allowing her and her language to be noticed and seen, she said. 

“Many deaf people watch sports,” Conrad said. “Often we don’t feel like we belong places and for people to see that there is a signer we automatically feel like we belong and are comfortable.” 

The event was an exciting chance for Conrad to show aspects of her culture and the deaf community to everyone watching, but especially to her family, she said. 

“I was raised with a hearing family and unfortunately, they don’t know sign language, which is common for a lot of deaf people with hearing families,” Conrad said. “A lot of times, my family doesn’t see what I do with my language and my culture, and by being able to send them the video of me performing, they could see who I really am, and I could make them proud.”

Conrad teaches ASL 2 and ASL Expressive Language at LT. Her experience signing at the Bears game was a learning experience for her students, she said.

“I showed the video in class and they were all super excited to see sign language at the Bears game,” Conrad said. “It was a chance for them to see that whatever your passion is, or whatever your goals are in life, you can get there.”

Conrad taught her students how to sign the National Anthem before performing it, and explained to her classes why it is important to sign at sporting events, Katherine Geisert ‘23 said. 

“It was exciting to see that Miss Conrad got this opportunity,” Geisert said. “She is just a great person and teacher, and she has shown us videos in class of people signing at things like this, so it was cool to see her performing in front of so many people.”

Conrad’s students learned to sign the National Anthem in class, which made it even more exciting to see their teacher perform it, Geisert said. Conrad’s students were all enthusiastic about watching her performance.

“It was so cool to see that she was there, and I bet that it was very cool for people who don’t know ASL that well to see,” Geisert said. “A lot of people don’t realize that you can sign music, and that it is different from just regular signing.”