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Imagine being a passionate soccer fan on a dream trip to the World Cup in Brazil. You are paid to be there because it is a part of your job. Imagine that and you have stepped into the life of Antonio Rusiñol, 27, senior researcher at ESPN Stats & Information Group.

The group does analytics for ESPN Deportes, providing advance statistics for game coverage – ratings, rankings and material that doesn’t usually appear in box scores.

“It’s really a dream come true,” Rusiñol said,  “because ESPN was my first real dream job, just because my No. 1 passion is sports.”

A native of Argentina, Rusiñol spent his adolescent years in Canada. His family moved to Johnson City, Tennessee, where he attended Science Hill High School.

Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00

English without borders

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Every Thursday evening at Cherokee United Methodist Church in Johnson City, Tenn., an exchange takes place as different tongues learn to speak in one common language.

Leading this conversation is Dr. Rosalind Gann, an East Tennessee State University professor and English as a Second Language advocate. The main goal of this gathering is to equip people whose first language is not English to speak it comfortably and correctly.

Gann has worked with English language learners in many countries. It was there that she realized how the English language is becoming more global.

"One thing I've learned is just how important English is—worldwide—and the scope of this language," she said. "It was, originally, a language of conquerors, of oppressors, and now, it's been transformed into a vehicle for universal communication."

A woman stands before a crowd of fellow North Carolinians, prepared to deliver a speech on a topic of great importance to her.

Carolina Siliceo Perez told how, as a college student, she stood in line to register for classes after the other students, paid out-of-state tuition without having access to financial aid and feared being pulled over every time she drove a car. She experienced these things because she is an illegal immigrant.

The scene was "Moral Monday," an event in Asheville, North Carolina, sponsored by the NAACP to address topics of social reform. Siliceo came to share reasons why she believes the U.S. needs immigration reform.

Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00

Interpreter finds his calling in life

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Tucked away in the back of Mountain View Elementary School's library is a man who is passionate about his job and the work he does for Johnson City Schools.

Fernando DeSousa-Pereira is the Spanish interpreter for all 11 schools in Johnson City, Tennessee. Anyone who greets DeSousa will immediately be met with a firm handshake and a smile.

If a teacher cannot communicate with a child's parents because of a language barrier, DeSousa is called to the school. He is the link between parents and teachers. DeSousa devotes a lot of time and effort into his job.

He works with parents to ensure their child succeeds in school. He wants parents to understand the school system and how it works, which means filling out the load of paperwork students need at the beginning of each school year. He attends parent-teacher conferences if he needs to translate.

She loves history, she loves to read, she loves listening to stories and she loves telling stories. Thirty-three-year-old Carolina Quiroga Hurtado found these passions as a child, and because of her mother's ability to tell humorous stories as a school teacher, she found her love of storytelling.

"It is very easy for me because I've been reading all my life and I've been retelling things all my life too," Quiroga said. "I've been interested in storytelling because I just love stories. It's not like I'm a gossip person but I do like to hear stories."

A native of Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, where she spent the first 30 years of her life, she came to the United States to become a professional storyteller. She chose to move to America and pursue a career in storytelling despite her family and friends thinking she was crazy for not sticking with her practical job as a graphic designer, which she already knew would offer a promotion in the near future.

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