DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — If you watched the National Anthem before the Super Bowl Sunday night, you might have noticed a woman in the bottom left corner of the screen performing American Sign Language.
That was Louisville native and actress Sandra Mae Frank, who also graduated from the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville.
Those who knew her in high school weren’t surprised to see her shining at the Super Bowl. Guidance counselor Stu Harper said Frank played volleyball, was a cheerleader and participated in student government.
“Bubbly, outgoing, very friendly,” Harper said.
He met Frank when she was a teenager, but as he watched her Sunday night, Harper said he’s proud of the adult she’s become.
“I thought it was beautiful,” he told LEX 18. “Her signing is, of course, impeccable. She looked great.”
After the anthem, Frank tweeted a message of appreciation to those watching at home.
— Sandra Mae Frank (she/her) (@sandy21mae) February 14, 2022
However, some social media users and fans said they wish NBC would have aired more of Frank’s performance instead of only briefly showing her on screen. That includes Kayla, a Kentuckian who’s partially deaf.
I'm so angry right now!!! They hyped up having ASL performers this year at #SuperBowl @NBCSports and the only showed Sandra Mae Frank for 2 seconds! What about our inclusion for the #deaf and #hoh community!! Guess I was hyped for no reason.
— Kays_Daisies (@khaysley) February 13, 2022
Overall, Harper says Frank’s performance at SoFi Stadium is an excellent representation of deaf Americans.
“That kind of role model, of just including people with disabilities, of diversity, sends a strong message to everyone in the nation,” he said.
You can watch Frank on NBC’s medical drama New Amsterdam, where she plays Dr. Wilder.
Her performance at the Super Bowl was in collaboration with the National Association for the Deaf.