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Charter school staff member translates for fire victims

By Dave Detling 9:26 PM January 14, 2014

Students also help by raising funds

ANCHORAGE – When a fire Monday displaced roughly 19 families, many of them sought temporary shelter at the Aquarian Charter School next door.

Amidst the confusion and chaos of finding family members, there was also a language barrier for some.

“Many people didn’t know who to talk to,” said Araceli Mayer.

The charter schoolteacher’s aide happened to be at the school when Spanish-speaking residents started filtering in. A native of Mexico, Mayer said she felt compelled to help.

“I’m not a hero,” Mayer laughed during a sit-down interview with KTVA. “I was just helping out and doing whatever needed to be done at that moment.”

Mayer helped paramedics interact with fire victims and said the cooperation helped provide better first-aid to residents.

Mayer also helps teachers at Aquarian Charter School with Spanish lessons. Administrators tell KTVA the entire student body is exposed to a second language as part of the curriculum.

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