INDIANAPOLIS — Monday night will mark a moment of pride not only for the winning team of the College Football Playoff National Championship game, but also for a Hoosier family.
Sixth-grader Kaylen Brown will share her gift of sign language before Alabama and Georgia kick off at Lucas Oil Stadium.
When you hear the national anthem, there’s a universal feeling of pride, but if you ask someone who can’t hear, they’ll tell you those words still bring about the same feelings of patriotism.
“The flag, and A-S-L always say the red and white stripes,” Kaylen said, “When I was growing up signing it, I felt proud, so I want people to feel that.”
Now Kaylen gets to make sure everyone in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community gets to see and feel the Star-Spangled Banner when she signs the song for the College Football Playoff National Championship game.
“Saying the same things over and over again, you know, I don’t miss a beat,” she said.
The NCAA’s committee chose Kaylen out of 15 students from Indiana School for the Deaf.
They all submitted videos and principal Andy Alka announced the news when Kaylen won.
“We were very excited because we though Kaylen was just perfect,” Alka said. “All of the students were thrilled. They were you know, hooting and hollering for her, and she was shocked. She was like 'me,' and we said 'yes, you were picked.'”
Kaylen will join singer Natalie Grant on the field of Lucas Oil Stadium. Together, Grant will sing and Kaylen will sign the national anthem for 70,000 people in the stands and even more watching from home.
“And children when they’re looking, when they look at me sign, I want them to look up to me and be hopeful about them maybe being able to sign it when they get older,” Kaylen said.
Kaylen is only 12 years old, but she shows bravery beyond her age.
“She’s a trailblazer at this point, as far as I’m concerned. I want to be like her when I grow up,” said her mother, Roshanta Burns.
She told us that she knows her daughter’s melodic hand movements represent the language of approximately 500,000 Americans who rely on ASL.
“I do believe with her doing this, it will open up a lot of eyes and may actually open a lot of programs at other schools in other places so that everybody is included, and nobody feels left out,” Burns said.
Kaylen’s moment on the field will remind everyone about the resilience in American history and her movements take no sound to bring tears to her mother’s eyes and show gratitude for all Hoosiers.
Kaylen is an impressive young lady. She’s also a cheerleader, basketball player, and possibly wants to become a veterinarian. We’ll sure be watching her as the big game kicks off tonight at 8 p.m.