On the Sidelines: This GSF High senior signs the national anthem to inspire deaf community

News13 Digital First

GREEN SEA, SC (WBTW) – As Loris battled Green Sea Floyd High in their Week 3 matchup, one GSF High senior was busy fighting a battle of her own.

Monifah Simmons was at center field during the national anthem, translating the antem into sign language in front of the stands.

“I’m here to prove that I’m back and I’m doing what I want to do,” Simmons said.

Simmons, who has been deaf her whole life, says she is doing this to increase visibility of the deaf community.

“It’s necessary for the deaf culture just to let them know that anything is possible,” she said. “That you can do anything. That you don’t let it stop what you want to do.”

Simmons certainly hasn’t let being deaf stop her from doing anything.

But there was a time, she says, when she wasn’t quite as confident.

“In my mind, I had so many negatives in my mind, it said- you can’t do it, you cant do it, you’re not going to win. you’re not going to win,” she said.

But all that changed last year, when she was crowned Miss Loris High School. That was a moment she says changed the course of her outlook.

“That’s the moment I realized oh you can do anything and I’m not going to let it stop me,” Simmons remembered.

Teachers lit up at the mention of Monifah- who many call ‘MoMo’ for short.

“She owns it and makes you think ‘Oh wow,'” Chloe Jones said. She used to be Monifah’s history teacher. “Signing is amazing and this is a whole different culture and shes bringing it to the Green Sea Floyd’s plate.”

Even the high school’s principal has noticed Monifa’s spark.

“She is very involved and she does advocate for herself and members of her community,” Dr. Andrea Pridgen said. “She is just such a great asset to our school.”

Monifah’s biggest focus: getting her message out loud and clear.

“You can be different,” she said. But we’re all the same inside. “It doesn’t matter what it is what you have, don’t let it stop you anything you want to do.”

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