In 2014, Morris Innovative High School began the Newcomer Academy, and my Translation Academy students—who were fluent in both English and Spanish—jumped in to help. The iTranslate students, or The Translation Academy students, began teaching these high schoolers English. Not only did my group work with the older students, but we also started working with several elementary school students who were new to the country. While we were involved with working in our elementary schools, I met a parent coordinator who taught non-English speaking parents English, three times a week. Most of these parents were Hispanic, so my students began joining in to teach them English.
The experience of working in the community and having hands-on experiences was so powerful that I looked for other opportunities for my students to give back while using their bilingual skills. This desire has led to the iTranslate students being involved in planning a job fair for the school, working with Hispanic leaders in the community, being a think tank for the Chamber of Commerce, as well as working alongside of the Dalton Public Schools Central Office. During their time in the Translation Academy, students realize their value to the community, the vast opportunities that are available to them, as well as how to pursue their future goals.