Columbia, SC (WLTX)- The Latino population in Richland School District Two has grown to 8%, according to the Hispanic Family Liaison for the district.
Their Innovations team has created a Student Interpreter Certification Program for all students who wish to bring out the value of being bilingual.
Fourteen students from Spring Valley and Richland Northeast High School are selected to take a test for the professional certification and complete 200 hours of interpreting.
Ron Huff is the Hispanic Family Liaison for the district, he says it's a great opportunity.
"Finish 200 hours working with us and being mentored by other interpreters in the district after they have their professional experience, the last thing that they do is going to be getting their own business so that when they come out they'll be business owners, they'll be professionally trained and they'll be certified" said Huff.
"There's a lot of talk in education now about how we need to know about different sections of the world about how we need to be citizens of the world and someone that has grown up with two cultures is already learning that, for free" said Huff.
The students take turns throughout the day helping teachers and counselors interpret. "The response has been tremendous. We've gotten a lot of kudos from all over the state. People love the student interpreters they're being employed in the school in education more and more often" said Huff.
"Being bilingual is an advantage... it's not supposed to be a stigma, it's supposed to be an advantage" said Amanda a student interpreter.
This program is the first for Richland School District Two. They encourage anyone who's interested in being a Spanish interpreter to take advantage of this opportunity.