A high school football player’s stirring performance ahead of one of his varsity games last month is making waves online.
Footage of Jonathan Edwards, a senior student at Kuna High School in Idaho, interpreting the national anthem into American Sign Language (ASL) as his school band plays the song was shared by a family friend on Facebook, where it has since been viewed over 3.5 million times.
“Our friends’ son interpreted the National Anthem at the Kuna Varsity football game last night!” Whitney Gustin Pollard wrote.
Pollard went on to explain that Edwards had taken classes through ASL Expressions, a learning center in Boise, Idaho, over the summer and that the performance was part of his senior project.
“(Edwards) is interested in going to college to become an interpreter after high school!” she wrote. “I thought it was awesome and had to share!”
After footage of the event went viral, Edwards expressed surprise over the widespread support he received from viewers around the world.
“It was a shocker that I was able to reach that many people on a global level,” Edwards told the Idaho Statesman of his newfound internet fame.
Although he says he hasn’t yet decided if he will pursue ASL in college, Edwards told the outlet he recognized the importance of more people being educated on the language, as well as issues facing those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“It’s one of the professions where one person can make a difference,” he said.
Gallego, who specializes in interpreting concerts — particularly those of rap/hip-hop artists — into American Sign Language, made headlines at Lollapalooza in 2013 while signing along with Kendrick Lamar’s performance of “F***in’ Problems.
She has since been described by Vibe as “the most recognizable sign language interpreter in the country.”
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