By: Clarisa Millard/Senior Writer
When Spanish speaking families need to sign paperwork at the Blue Ridge School District, the district’s high school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Lucrecia Jesse, is typically called upon to translate that paperwork from English to Spanish. She also serves as a translator for Spanish speaking students and their families who come to Blue Ridge with limited English speaking skills for other various purposes, including meetings and testing situations.
Jesse, an American citizen, immigrated to the United States when she was five, and has been interpreting for Spanish speakers since she was in third grade.
“Basically, I learned English much faster than my parents did, so I would always translate for them. For example, I would need to be a go-between when my parents went to the doctor’s office.”
Jesse says she also served as an informal translator when she was in school.
“ELA existed, but not as well as it does today. In middle school and high school, I would translate for students to help them out.”
Mrs. Jesse started teaching at Blue Ridge in 2006 and would translate documents, school forms, etc. if needed. When asked if there are any miscommunications or problems with translating for people, Jesse says, “There are no problems in school.”
However, Jesse says, “I always laugh when people think I don’t know the Spanish language and they talk in Spanish near me, and I just have to laugh at what they say.”
A common question Jesse receives is exactly how many families she has translated for, which she says “there have been too many to count.” She stresses that, “translating is an asset and a life line to help become a community.”
Jesse thinks translating is a good thing in order to give people a voice who might not have a voice, and she always enjoys being able to help others through language barriers.