Elementary school student uses Google translate to break language barrier with new kid at school
When Amanda Moore saw new student Rafael Anaya at school sitting alone during lunch, she tried to talk to him to make him feel welcome. The conversation didn’t get far. She found out Anaya only speaks Spanish, and Moore isn’t fluent in the language. But she refused to let the fact that they didn’t speak the same language stop her from forming a new friendship. Amanda’s family has hosted exchange students in the past and used Google Translate to help them communicate. The resourceful fifth-grader wrote a note asking Anaya if he wanted to sit with her at lunch and plugged it into app to tell her how to draft the letter in Spanish so he could read it. She took the letter home to her mom for proofreading.
“Literally I’ve been crying ever since then because I thought it was the sweetest thing in the world,” her mom, Kimber Kinard, told CBS News.
“I always said, ‘Find the new kid.’ Always. Find the new kid,” Kinard said. “They may not stay your friend, but they won’t forget that you made them welcome in that school.”
“I just wanted to tell him it’s OK if he could sit over by us,” Moore told ABC7. “Even though we can’t really speak Spanish together, I don’t really know Spanish, but we could still hang out.”
According to Kinard, the letter reads, “Would you like to sit with me today? Look for me and I will show you where I sit. We can color or simply tell scary stories. Thank you for your time, signed Amanda.”
The letter worked. Not only do the two students now have a new lunch buddy, but they’ve become friends outside of school as well. As it turns out they live near one another, and even met up for trick-or-treating on Halloween. “We were teaching him the ‘trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat’ song,” said Kinard. “We had him singing it by the end.”
For now the pair are mainly communicating with each other via drawings, but are working on learning each other’s languages.
As Moore puts it, “I just think he shouldn’t be alone. Everybody should have a buddy.”
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