WHS Students Heading to Spain

WESTFIELD – Imagine that you are a Westfield High student given the opportunity of a lifetime.
You are going to travel all over Spain to sight-see and learn about their rich culture. The best part is, you are doing it all with your classmates. This is what 27 Westfield High students are going to experience this April when they make the trip to Spain. Foreign language teachers Mr. Harrigan, Ms. Crean and Ms. Al Rekaby are going to bring the students to Madrid, Seville, Granada, and Morroco.
The teachers offered this trip option in early 2012 and were delighted to see so much interest. The biggest obstacle for the students was convincing their parents to allow them to go on the $2,500 excursion to Europe. Often, parents aren’t too fond of the idea of the trip at first. But after learning that many good friends would also be accompanying their child to Spain, they agreed.
Cost is also a big issue.
“My parents are letting me go to Spain because I am paying for the trip myself,” said senior Casey Conroy. “I pay around $200 a month, but I know it will be worth it!”
Harrigan hopes that students can participate in fundraisers to put towards the cost of the trip. He recently organized a fundraiser to help pay for the cost of the charter bus to Boston.
“It’s natural for parents to worry or feel uncomfortable with their children traveling so far away without them, but they’re in good hands,” trip chaperone Harrigan said. “Behavior will be accounted for and there will be repercussions if needed. It’s a great opportunity. Students will be able to learn about the culture of Spain and try new things.”
In April, the Westfield High group will depart from Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. After an eight hour flight, the plane will arrive in Madrid, Spain. From there the students will be taking a walking tour to explore the city. Everywhere they go, they will be accompanied with an Education First tour guide. They will visit the Royal Palace of Madrid, which has housed nobles ever since the 1700’s. An optional trip with an additional cost is a trip to El Escorial which is known in Spain as “the eighth wonder of the world”. It is a huge Renaissance palace which has served as a church, monastery, royal palace, college and library.
From there the group will go see the famous Don Quixote’s windmills before continuing on to the beautiful region of Granada. They will visit Alhambra, the 10th century fortress known for its beautiful gardens and architecture.
“I’ve seen students’ pictures who have gone on this trip in the past, and Alhambra seems amazing. I’m going to take tons of pictures!” said senior Heather Lutservitz.
The Westfield High group will spend a night in Seville, Spain. There they have the option to attend an exciting and passionate Flamenco show, with dancing and music. In Seville, students will also take a tour of the city and explore the famous neighborhood of Santa Cruz.
There are not many people who can proudly say, “I’ve traveled to Africa in my lifetime”, but if Westfield High students choose to go on the optional trip to Morocco, they will be able to. After travelling to the southern part of Spain, known as Costa del Sol, they will be right on the warm and beautiful Mediterranean Sea. They will get a chance to swim in the waters and then take a 30 minute ferry ride to Africa! In Morocco, the students will experience crowded markets and Islamic architecture. Every student will be able to ride a camel and eat an authentic Moroccan meal.
“I think the trip to Morocco will be a great experience,” said Harrigan. “Students just really need to be mindful of the Islamic cultural differences and be respectful.”
The Westfield High students going on the trip are very excited and can hardly wait the six months until the trip. For many, it is the first time they have travelled outside of the country or been away from their parents for so long. The trip will allow students to experience culture in a way they would not be able to in a classroom. They will be making memories that will stand out when they look back on high school.

MaryKate Mooney, WHS ‘13, is a staff writer for the school newspaper, The Bomber Blaze.

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