Sioux City North makes history hosting Deaf Awareness Night

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 2:30 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The month of September marks Deaf Awareness month, and Sioux City North had something special in store hosting their own Deaf Awareness Night this past Friday.

On Friday night, a dream came to life at the Sioux City North football game. Sioux City North senior running back and defensive back Demarico Young had a vision of making the deaf community feel a part of the Friday Night Lights, and that vision came to life as history was made.

“It was just a dream come true. A dream come true. I feel so inspired to continue to do more. I was so excited to see the turnout was great,” said Demarico Young.

Young became deaf at just eight months old, but now he’s spent his time North working hard to break barriers. The rivalry game between Sioux City North and Sioux City East became the first high school football game at a hearing school to ever have a live play-by-play broadcast by two deaf people, fully done in ASL.

“Sports bring deaf people together as well. So we want to support our team, and it’s the same as hearing people do. It’s nice that we can have this opportunity, deaf people and hearing people together. It’s really a special event, very cool,” said Jonathan Scherling, ASL play-by-play broadcaster.

“It’s really inspiring to see everyone involved, fully involved. And that there’s full access for deaf people tonight as well,” said Todd Honas, ASL play-by-play broadcaster.

Friday nights are one of the most exciting nights in Siouxland creating a special environment for all the fans. But for Demarico Young, this night was so special because it was able to bring a piece of that environment to the deaf community.

“It’s such a big moment in history for us as deaf people. We have come so far, never thought we would get here, and now it makes me feel better about who I am and what I can do for people,” said Young.

And on a very special night, Young was on fire scoring three touchdowns for the Stars as people from all over the nation were tuned in.

“It was great. And in front of my deaf audience, the deaf community proving that we can do anything. It just gave me even more motivation and energy to do that,” said Young.

Demarico Young celebrates after scoring the first touchdown of the night.
Demarico Young celebrates after scoring the first touchdown of the night.(KTIV)

The broadcast done in ASL was the first of its kind, but those involved hope this is just the first of many more events to come.

“Anytime you do something for the first time ever, you become kind of a pace setter. So it’s exciting for the deaf community. It’s exciting, actually, for the people involved in the foundation to be able to make something happen that hasn’t happened before,” Shawn Meth, Sioux City North activities director.

“To watch this come to life is like a dream come true. At first, when he had this vision, I was like, ‘How in the world would that ever happen, right?’ And then the pieces just slowly fell together,” said Dawn Habhab, Demarcio Young’s ASL interpreter.