SENIOR SNAPSHOT: Mira Wolman, Interpreter

In honor of their graduation, the Boiling Point profiles four members of the class of 2014. Click on links at the bottom of the story for three more.

SIGN: Mira Wolman says I love you in American Sign Language (ASL), which she speaks fluently.

BP Photo by Goldie Fields

SIGN: Mira Wolman says “I love you” in American Sign Language (ASL), which she speaks fluently.

Sitting next to Mira Wolman in Hebrew Language class, the other students stare in wonder as she translates words from Hebrew, to English, to American Sign Language, or ASL. Even though she isn’t deaf, Mira uses sign language to express herself, and can therefore catch the attention of any class of kids.

As a young girl struggling with autism, Mira often found expressing herself to be very frustrating because people did not understand what she was feeling or trying to say. At age seven, Mira started watching the TV show Signing Time to learn Sign Language and calm herself down.

“Signing Time is the only show I can watch without getting distracted,” said Mira in an interview.

Soon Mira was really interested, and she quickly learned ASL’s movements and symbols by watching the show and avidly reading books teaching it.

“I speak sign language fluently,” said Mira. “It is a great way of communicating because it prevents tantrums or frustration.”

Even though her parents do not speak ASL fluently, Mira still uses it at home.

“Whenever I get angry I sign to my parents,” said Mira. “Sometimes they answer back in English and sometimes in sign language,”

Mira hopes to attend Touro College in New York so she can study sign language and eventually become an ASL interpreter.

“I’ve had conversations with deaf people using sign language,” said Mira. “I want to help them because sign language is good for me.”

Mira’s high school experience has been somewhat different from the rest of the class of 2014’s—and somewhat the same.

She’s had someone with her in her classes. This year, Hayley Stein was her “shadow” most days, accompanying Mira to all her classes and helping her with schoolwork. Sometimes her mom, Dr. Marianne Finerman, fills in.

But Mira has taken most of the regular classes with her grade all along, from Tanach to Music Appreciation to Biology.

Senior Sarah Soroudi said Mira brought something to the class of 2014 that perhaps no one else could.

“She’s also so honest,” Sarah said, “and it’s very refreshing to have someone say what we’re all thinking.”

 Related: SENIOR SNAPSHOT: Kaili Finn – Talmida

Related:  SENIOR SHAPSHOT: Paul Merritt – Gamer

Related: SENIOR SNAPSHOT: Danielle Lowe – Troubador