Espinosa awarded by The Assistance League of Omaha

Melina Herrera, Assistant editor in chief

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In addition to her work at Omaha South High Magnet, Mary Espinosa has received an award for her work with the Assistance League of Omaha. 

Espinosa is the coordinator for both the Dual Language and the Advanced Placement programs at South, where she has been working for the past six years.  

Espinosa was awarded the Caring Hands Award by the Assistance League of Omaha because of her work with Operation School Bell. 

The Caring Hands Award is awarded to a family member of an Assistance League of Omaha volunteer who has helped the organization with their various programs. 

During Espinosa’s first year at South, Operation School Bell needed translators. She was given the responsibility of finding bilingual students that could volunteer.  

Operation School Bell is a program that provides families in need of winter clothes for their students.   

Across two weeks every October, the program sends students to JCPenney at Westroads Mall. They interpret for families with financial needs while helping them shop for winter clothes.  

The Assistance League of Omaha has a Christmas caravan during which attendees have dinner and participate in an auction to fundraise for different programs. The award ceremony was also held during this time. 

As AP coordinator, Espinosa has many responsibilities. Part of her job is to keep track of who is going to take AP exams and to make sure there is an AP exam for the student when they show up to take the test.  

“AP is connected with a group called the college board, they write the exams and make the scheduling. They are who we pay for the exams, they are also the ones who connect with the universities,” Espinosa said. “My job is to connect students and teachers with the college board, to fill the gaps.” 

Teachers also have a role to play. They must meet certain requirements in order to teach AP courses.  

“If teachers want to teach an AP course, they have to take a course in order to meet the expectations of the College Board while also meeting the expectations of Omaha Public Schools. The teachers are providing information and content to help students take the test,” Espinosa said.  

As Dual Language coordinator Espinosa oversees that incoming freshman students sign up for the correct classes.  

“My work with DL is more specifically talking to students and making sure that they’re in the correct classes, promoting DL,” Espinosa said. “Starting next week, I will be in the DL middle schools talking to each of the classes and letting them know what DL is like in high school.”