School Outreach Profiles

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School Outreach Profiles

Anelly A. Schwab Alfaro

Speaking at the Spanish National Honor Society Induction Ceremony

On October 10, 2014, I had the distinct honor of being the guest speaker at the Spanish National Honor Society Induction Ceremony at John I. Leonard Community High-School in Greenacres, Florida.

The audience that evening was composed of past and present members, students and their families, and students who were going to be inducted into the Spanish National Honor Society. I was a teacher at the time and my advanced business students invited me to be their guest speaker. I decided to talk about the translation field and the diversity of career opportunities available to bilingual students.

I prepared a PowerPoint presentation in English, but my explanations were in Spanish because most parents who attended spoke only Spanish. I explained the origin of the translation field and how it developed throughout the years. My goal was to provide students with information about the field, where to get more information about it, encourage them to consider this field seriously and to begin early in high school.

I was the business teacher at that time and had included translation in my curriculum, in which the students participated in the translation of John I Leonard’s newspaper, "The Knight Times" from English to Spanish. So, many of my students in the audience had already experienced a bit of the work of Spanish translators, with its nuances, difficulties and deadlines!

After I completed my speech, the students proceeded to the stage to be recognized with a series of certificates under different categories for their accomplishments and contributions to the Spanish club. I remember their emotion, happiness, union and camaraderie at that moment and how important it was for them and their families to be recognized for their Hispanic heritage and ability to speak the Spanish language. After all, this was a unique experience for them, especially because they were attending the largest school in the District of Palm Beach County with over 3,000 students and where they could easily have felt out of their comfort zone!

Later, the inductees, parents, and everyone in attendance walked out of the auditorium and into the courtyard, where the induction ceremony took place. The students gathered in a circle and each of them was given a candle to hold in their hands to signify their inspiration and passion for the Spanish language. Students also committed to study the Spanish language at the highest level of mastery.

After the ceremony was over, there was a sense of joy and relief, and the students and parents proceeded to a hall in which they were treated to a variety of refreshments.