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Journey of a lifetime

Trio returns from European educational experience

— Three Hayden High School students came home last Tuesday with a new appreciation for their studies.

Seniors Anna Lighthizer and Chris Gullett and junior Bridget Manley left March 23 for Europe and returned April 2 with many experiences to share with their classmates.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Europe,” Lighthizer said.



The trio takes Spanish at the high school. Their teacher, Grace Wintemute, led a group of seven students overseas last spring and wanted to give students the same opportunity this spring.

The students paid for the $2,000 trip through fund-raisers and summer jobs.



The experience was well worth the time and effort spent to get to Europe, Lighthizer said.

She and her classmates sold tamales and burritos, took catalogue orders and put aside their summer earnings to cover airfare and lodging expenses, as well as the extra cost of food and souvenirs.

“Especially coming from a small town, it’s a great opportunity to see the world,” she said.

Lighthizer intends to minor in Spanish when she attends college in the fall.

She said she wants to be a nurse, a profession where a second language comes in handy.

John Svoboda, a teacher at the high school, and a parent accompanied Wintemute and her students.

Some of their stops included Paris and Barcelona.

The group visited the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre art museum.

It was important for her students to experience the art and culture of a place so rooted in history, Wintemute said.

When they returned to school, they better understood the reasons behind their studies, she said.

The experience gave some life to their textbooks, she said.

Exposure to another culture gave her an appreciation for the Spanish language, Lighthizer said.

The trip abroad gave her students confidence about their Spanish-speaking abilities, Wintemute said.

They were surprised with how well they could pick up the language when they were in Europe, she said.

After their return, the three students encouraged their younger peers to make the trip to Europe next year.

Wintemute said she hoped more students would be encouraged by their enthusiasm.

The trip was possible, she said, thanks to the support of the town of Hayden, the Craig VFW and the high school.

The Hayden School District provided transportation to and from Denver International Airport.


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