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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Dee puts on a show through ASL:(with video)

Delosha Payne teaches American Sign Language (ASL) at Coppell High School. Payne utilizes her energetic personality to inspire students to learn ASL


Walking into room C118, you find yourself immersed in the laid back, boisterous atmosphere of the room. 

As students banter among themselves, Coppell High School American Sign Language (ASL) teacher Delosha Payne enters and joins them with matching energy.

Known more commonly as Ms. Dee, she has cultivated a reputation for her energetic yet no nonsense attitude towards transgressions in her classroom and the halls of CHS, earned through her quick wit and dedication to students.

Payne is currently pursuing a Ph.D in family studies as a full-time student at Texas Woman’s University. She finds this education is improving not only her own compassion of teaching but also the kindness of her students, a goal she decided on when she noticed a pattern in the attitude of her students towards disabled people.

“I noticed that a lot of the kids looked at people who used ASL to communicate as handicapped,” Payne said. “That was a stigma that I did want to change and along that way that, while these people aren’t handicapped, they could always use some assistance.”

These efforts do not go unnoticed by her students.  

“She’ll take care of you as long as you tell her your needs, if you’re disabled or you have disabilities, she’ll take care of you,” sophomore ASL student Alexander Garza said.

Her gift with students is apparent even at a distance as evident by Dez Garner, another ASL teacher at CHS, who recounts how Payne influenced her decision to work at CHS.

“Even before the interview I’d looked her up online, and I could tell she was a good teacher,” Garner said. “That was when I decided to become a teacher at CHS. She just had this God-given talent with people. She could just be around so many different people and God had just given her this gift, people were just drawn to her.”

Growing up with a deaf parent, Dee learned ASL by signing with her mother. Later, her bilingualism would allow her to be a school interpreter for deaf children but she decided to diverge from that path to become an ASL teacher after completing graduate school.

“There’s a lot of paperwork that’s involved with being a deaf education teacher,” Payne said. “When I graduated, I still did not understand how deaf children learned to read. Because I still didn’t feel like I had that good solid knowledge, I did not want to get into that profession and not be an effective teacher.”

This decision would prove fortunate for CHS as it gained a teacher dedicated to the ASL program and its growth and improvement.  

Though, she does not plan on staying forever.  Payne hopes that she can continue her career and shift towards family and adolescence advocacy once she completes her Ph.D during the spring of 2026, handing over the ASL program at CHS to Dez Garner.  But until then, she will continue to be here to support and advocate for them.

“I am proud of the program that I have had a hand in developing over the last couple years,” Payne said.  “The program seems to be growing, the kids love the program. Whatever positivity I’ve given to the school I hope that kids will take and give out to the world.”


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About the Contributors
Noor Fatima
Noor Fatima, Staff Designer

As an excited, wide-eyed Noor walked into D115 for the first time on the first day of her sophomore year, she tilted her head in confusion and thought to herself, “I thought this was an art class, why are there newspaper awards lining the walls?” Despite stumbling into the program by accident, Coppell High School senior and Sidekick graphic designer Noor Fatima found her place in the newspaper.  

Expanding beyond her expectation of designing graphics, Noor has tried a variety of mediums in the program. She enjoys writing stories and drawing graphics.  She grew up in Canada and moved to Texas five years ago, where she joined The Sidekick in her sophomore year of high school.

 She is the secretary of The Coppell Young Writers Association, and has a deep passion for writing. She appreciates the convergence of writing and multimedia that The Sidekick has, and believes that they go together. “People often separate writing, photos, and graphic design, but I think they are amplified and speak for each other when put together,” Noor says. 

Her favorite genre of music is J-pop, and enjoys listening to artists such as  Yoasobi and Kanaria. Noor is fond of rainy weather, and she loves to spend rainy days reading a good book with a warm cup of coffee. She enjoys reading a mix of manga and the occasional novel, and doodling characters from series she likes in her sketchbook. She wishes to pursue writing, and publish a graphic novel in the future. You can contact her at [email protected].

Ahana Roy
Ahana Roy, Staff Designer

Ahana Roy is a sophomore at Coppell High School, and her favorite class is The Sidekick even though this is her first year both at Coppell High School and as a staffer on The Sidekick. The reason The Sidekick spiked her interest is because she wanted to have an outlet for expressing her interest in designing graphics and drawing cartoons. Ahana likes drawing cartoons and designing graphics because she finds it very relaxing and a stress reliever. They are things she wants to get better at while at The Sidekick and throughout her years at CHS. Ahana’s favorite manga is JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, which is a tangible application of the drawing that has influenced her.  Her favorite food is mutton biryani which is a delicacy in some parts of India. Ahana likes to listen to Bollywood, K-Pop, and electronic music. In her free time, Ahana loves playing video games, binge-watching television shows and reading comic books. When Ahana leaves CHS, she wants to go to the University of Texas at Austin and become a software engineer. You can reach her at @[email protected] if you have any questions or want to learn more about her!

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