Submitted by Lopez High School Spanish Club
Ten Lopez High School Spanish Club students recently returned from a dynamic two-week trip to Peru, where they spent time living with local families, attending local schools and visiting various cultural sights in and around Cusco, as well as doing service work (and enduring significant altitude sickness!) in the stunningly beautiful mountain community of Misminay.
This is the first time Lopez High School Spanish Club students have traveled to Peru. Students have been traveling to Nicaragua since 2001, but due to the changing political climate in that country, the group made the decision to go to Peru this year, with hopes that the political situation will stabilize in Nicaragua and it will be possible to return some day.
“We’ve established strong connections with several communities in Nicaragua over the years, and hope to be able to resume doing service work there at some point in the future,” said Lisa Geddes, Lopez High School Spanish teacher and co-chaperone. “That said, our experience in Peru, while difficult at times due to the elevation and rigorous travel schedule, was unforgettable. I’ve never seen such jaw-dropping beauty as we saw in the Andes Mountains and the Sacred Valley. Although we were there for only two weeks, we came home with enough stories to last a lifetime and a renewed commitment to the value of service and connection.”
Brian Goff, literacy teacher and co-chaperone added, “Whether it was the altitude, the beauty, or the hospitality, giddy seems like [the] appropriate adjective to describe the collective mood of the group upon arrival in Cusco, where most of our time was concentrated during the trip.”
The students who participated are Hazel Arden; Uma Anderson Chopra; Siri Dye; Ty Greacen; Shayna Gruenwald; Reese Hamilton; Matalika Lyons; Matteo Nicoll; Matteus Rabel; and Tyler Sovelove. Paul Lewis, a veteran of several Spanish Club trips to Nicaragua, was one of the three trip chaperones. For many of the student travelers in the group, the trip to Peru was the first time they had been south of the equator.
“The moment I first saw the big dipper upside down was the moment I realized how far from home I really was,” said ninth grader Matteus Rabel. The group as a whole also had a lot to say about their five days living with host families in Cusco.
“The homestays were super incredible!” said Arden, an 11th grader. Each student stayed with a different family and had the opportunity to get an insider’s view of the local culture and the daily lives of the families with whom they were living.
The group will be sharing photos and stories from the trip on Wednesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room at the school. Lopez InSTEP and the Spanish Club would like to extend hearty thanks to the community, as well as to friends and family near and far, for their generous support of this trip. We hope you can join us for the presentation.
For more information about supporting international student travel at Lopez School, visit www.lopezinstep.org/.