Next week Chapman University will welcome the class of 2018 to campus, a group of some 1,400 students hailing from 38 states and 29 countries.

But numbers don’t tell the whole story. To get just a quick glimpse of some of the faces in this diverse and talented crew, meet two of those students who will be among the newest Panthers in town.

Bringing music to life


Alexa Abadee of Encino, Calif., studied and excelled at American Sign Language in high school. As her skills improved, she looked for a way to put them to good use. She hit on the idea of translating song lyrics so that deaf and hard-of-hearing teens could connect with the popular music she enjoyed as a hearing person.

Since then she’s uploaded more than 100 videos to her YouTube channel, which has more than 1,000 followers and 150,000 views.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Zg0GhJ9zw&index=8&list=UU85wawu7uOp8f7mhD1QUquw

Signing lyrics has given Abadee, who will pursue a major in integrated educational studies and a minor in disability studies, fresh insight into the power of the lyrical tradition. She conveys the music’s emotion through an energetic style of signing that incorporates facial expressions and body movement.

Says Abadee: “I think more about the lyrics and what they really mean … and how the music makes you feel.”

Dreams do come true

man smiling at camera
Israel Arango-Hernandez of Orange knows well the power of dreaming big. He migrated to the United States from Mexico when he was 4 years old, making him eligible to benefit from the California Dream Act, which allows undocumented immigrants to apply for Cal Grants. But his sights were set on a college education long before the act was passed in 2011. He credits his mother for that motivation. A single mother, she supports the family cleaning houses.

“She is definitely my rock and someone I always look up to. She always told me to never give up on my dream,” Arango-Hernandez says.

The incoming business major and National Honors Society member grew up near Chapman and says he spent his high school years focusing on all he needed to do to be accepted. For a freshman year goal-setting assignment he even sketched a picture of himself walking onto campus with a happy, “Whoo-hoo! I got in!” banner. And now he really has.

Join Chapman University in welcoming the class of 2018 and their families at Opening Convocation, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at Holly and David Wilson Field, in Chapman Stadium. Convocation is the University’s official opening of the academic year. Among the highlights is the procession of faculty in full academic regalia. Complete information about student move in days and orientation activities is available at the Orientation Week website.