by Terry Rogers
Anis Lopez enjoys working at the Milford Public Library, assisting Hispanic visitors who need to fill get a library card, find books or need any type of assistance. Her ability to translate was discovered by Molly Chorman, a Teacher Academy instructor at Milford High School.
“I owe everything to Ms. Chorman,” Lopez says. “I was in her class and she needed a book translated. I was able to help her out and she recommended me for the job at the library. I have the utmost respect for her. She tries to help each person and works with us individually as much as she can. I can relate to her because I also want to help people when I am older.”
Lopez was born in Tennessee, moving to Delaware at a very young age. She feels as if she has been in Delaware her entire life and has no intention of leaving the state, even for college.
“Most of my friends are applying all over the country for college because they cannot wait to get out of here,” Lopez said. “I am focusing on Delaware schools because I don’t want to live anywhere else. I am mostly looking at schools like Del-Tech, Wesley College and the University of Delaware.” Lopez, who is a junior at Milford High School this year, hopes to become either a teacher or a lawyer. Although Lopez loves working with children and realizes she would be able to help kids as a teacher, she also believes that becoming a lawyer would also help a large number of Hispanic people in the community.
Lopez is currently enrolled in AP classes at Milford High School and her goal is to get straight A’s in every class. She hopes to go to college because she knows her ability to speak multiple languages will allow her to do something that helps the community. Although Lopez speaks only Spanish for the time being, she hopes to also become fluent in Mam, a language that is native to Guatemala where her family is from. She also hopes to learn other languages, including French.
Mam is a Mayan language spoken by about a half million people in Guatemala, mostly in the areas of Quetzaltenango, HueHuetenango and San Marcos. Areas of Chiapas, a Mexican state along the border of Guatemala also speak the language. Lopez grew up speaking Spanish but has also been exposed to Mam when talking to family members. She has visited Guatemala during summer months on occasion where she received additional exposure to the language.
“I understand it pretty well because I grew up around it,” Lopez said. “But, I can’t always speak it well and I have difficulty translating it to others. I am getting better, but I want to become fluent because I know it will help people in the community.”
In addition to working toward straight A’s, Lopez is on the Milford High School Lacrosse team, her first year in the sport. During her freshman and sophomore year, she was a member of the Student Government Association, but she gave that up to focus more on her studies.
“A lot of people in this area need help,” Lopez said. “Hispanics do not reach out to the library much, so I am helping create programs that are designed for Hispanic children. We are planning some story times for kids over winter break that we hope will encourage more Hispanics to come in. I am only working on children’s programs right now, but I hope this will lead someone to also begin focusing on adult programs. This is what I want to do. I am a very caring person and I want to do as much as I can to help others.”
Chorman says that Lopez is the student who is always willing to help others and has a constant smile on her face.
“I had the pleasure of connecting with Anis through our Teacher Academy pathway,” Chorman said. “My suggestion of Anis for the library position was an easy one. She is a helper by nature and has the gift of being bilingual. Ross offered homework help sessions in the evenings last year, targeted at helping our English as a Second Language families. Anis was my go-to and volunteered her time and native tongue to make connections with these learners. In a nutshell, Anis represents the best of education – a family of diverse learners all growing and learning from each other. I am so proud to have her in our Teacher Academy pathway and love the impact she is already making in our small town.
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