When we were children, many of our parents talked about the beauty of opportunities being grounded in the simple concept of not knowing when or how they might arise.

When we were children, many of our parents talked about the beauty of opportunities being grounded in the simple concept of not knowing when or how they might arise.

The key to managing opportunities was that when they do arise, one should be ready to roll up his or her sleeves and work hard to make sure they are capitalized on.

The South-Western City School District recently benefited from such an opportunity to learn firsthand about families from around the world and what they hoped to find in a school district.

The district's English Language Learner Services department helps welcome students and families from across the globe to a school district and community that has become their new home. The hard-working and caring South-Western staff members provide daily services for more than 3,000 ELL students, as well as coordinate information in more than 70 languages and dialects for students and their families.

At the beginning of this school year, one of those "need to be ready" opportunities arose for South-Western. A great deal of hard work in identifying college and career readiness opportunities for ELL students resulted in a partnership with the Ohio State University focused on identifying Spanish-speaking students to be trained as interpreters and translators in the medical field. In addition to the work being done to develop reading and writing skills in English, these students would take heritage-language Spanish classes designed to sharpen reading and writing skills in Spanish.

These same students would then become candidates for admission into a niche program at Ohio State through the Department of Spanish and Portuguese; the program is designed to result in national certification to qualify them to provide medical interpreter/translator services at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This opportunity for the students and families of South-Western and the resulting hard work of our staff members and community partners to ensure its success culminated in a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a parents information night at which more than 30 Spanish-speaking students from the district were partnered with mentors from the Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research program and registered for their first-ever administration of the ACT college assessment.

Our ELL parents were excited about being provided with such a wonderful opportunity. No matter what language in which a lesson on opportunities materializes, it is the hope of all parents that our children recognize such opportunities and take full advantage of them.

Ed Kennedy is coordinator of English Language Learner Services for the South-Western City School District.