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Spanish Interpreting Pathway Added to CCP Options

A new Career and College Promise (CCP) pathway will be available to CHCCS high school juniors and seniors next year - a Durham Technical Community College certificate program for Community Spanish Interpreters. Completion of the certificate pathway of six online courses will provide college credit. The need for more Spanish interpreters and translators is ever-increasing in North Carolina and around the country, and students who complete the coursework will be qualified for jobs in medical, legal, education and other interpreter work.

Anayeli Mogoyan Lopez was one of two student representatives who spoke at an online information session on March 16 for prospective students and their families. She completed her interpreter studies at Durham Tech and now serves as a parent liaison for Durham Public Schools, functioning as the primary bridge between many Spanish speaking families and the school district. 

“I cover parent conferences, MTSS, school events and more,” Mogoyan Lopez said. “Let me be honest -- it’s an honor to serve our community with the respect they deserve. Many of you have probably been interpreters since you were a little kid, for family members or friends, so you already know the feeling that you’ve helped someone by being bilingual. You eventually will learn the skills to become a professional interpreter, and I truly recommend it. You have a superpower, so take advantage of that.”

Dorian Aideé Gómez Pestaña recently completed the interpreter’s certification, and she also spoke at the CCP information session. “When I was younger, I was aware of a lack of accessibility of interpreting, as someone who migrated from Mexico at the age of 8,” she said. “As I grew older, I grew more passionate about language justice, knowing that at some point, I had been my parents’ interpreter, even though I wasn’t qualified to do so.”

“I am currently a DACA recipient, working as a filmmaker and educator,”  Gómez Pestaña said. “The topic of accessibility isn’t just important to me, but also to the field I’m currently working in. Durham Tech’s program has allowed me to learn, not only the tools necessary to pursue interpreting as a career, but also giving me a chance to advocate for language justice in different spaces. All of my instructors have been nothing short of amazing, and if I had it to do over again, I would.”

The DTCC Director of Interpretation/Translation, Sara Juarez, said, “The Community Spanish Interpreter - Public Service Certificate program breaks down sociolinguistic barriers and promotes equal access to community services.  When using professional, qualified interpreters, service providers are empowered to do their jobs effectively, and LEP (limited English proficiency) individuals have control over their own voice and can be heard.”

So what is Career and College Promise? 

It’s a statewide program that allows qualified high school students to take college Career and Technical Education (CTE) and core academic classes, tuition free, while they are still in high school, providing them with an accelerated path into college or the workplace. Students who successfully complete college courses earn college credit they can use in universities and community colleges. Students often earn dual credit, meeting high school graduation requirements with college courses.

Durham Tech liaison, Abigail McAlister, works at all four CHCCS high schools to serve as adviser to CCP students. When she talks to school counselors, students and parents, she emphasizes the ways in which CCP not only saves money and accelerates college credit and industry certifications, she highlights the degree to which dual-enrollment serves as an equity support.

“CCP allows students to have a leg up,” McAlister said, “because students learn how to be in college while they’re still in high school.” She enumerated the lessons students learn, from how to utilize an adviser like McAlister, how to undertake the process of enrolling in college classes and how to succeed in classes taught online or by college instructors, weaning themselves away from the more consistent support provided by high school teachers.

“I see CCP as a college access program,” McAlister said, “and I would love to see more students take advantage of dual-enrollment.” She said that two student groups are especially well-served: undocumented students, as well as first generation students with little family knowledge of the college experience.

Students who are interested in enrolling in the new Spanish interpreter pathway must complete the course registration at their high school, in addition to the application process at DTCC. One more CCP information session is available to CHCCS students as a “Lunch and Learn” on March 24 from 12:00-1:00, which students can access through their school’s CIC or register here. For students who cannot attend the session on the 24th, see this link to join a session provided by DTCC. Attendance at a CCP information session is required for 2021-2022 enrollment.

The Spanish interpreter pathway courses will be taught in a hybrid format during 2022-2023, with one day per week required in-person attendance at Carrboro High School during zero period, and the remaining four days taught as asynchronous instruction. Students who are interested in entering a CCP pathway at Durham Tech are NOT required to attend an information session this spring.

Students who would like to learn more about their CCP options should email McAlister, who keeps office hours at all three large high schools:

REQUIREMENTS for CCP Spanish Interpreter Enrollment

Be a high school Junior or Senior 
Have an unweighted 2.8 GPA OR /A letter of recommendation AND take the English RISE placement test 
Take the Spanish Placement test and place out of Intermediate Spanish II. 
Students MUST go through CCP application process in addition to signing up  through the High School.