2012-11-27 / Front Page

OV Freshmen Selected For Student Ambassador Program Summer Trip

Spencer Students Will Travel Europe Through Spain, Italy & France
Staff Report


Owen Valley High School freshmen Caylea Denny (left) and Cayden Sparks will soon take part in a three-week trip to Spain, Italy and France. (Courtesy Photo) Owen Valley High School freshmen Caylea Denny (left) and Cayden Sparks will soon take part in a three-week trip to Spain, Italy and France. (Courtesy Photo) A pair of freshmen students at Owen Valley High School will soon embark on the trip of a lifetime, traveling to Spain, Italy and France as part of the People to People Student Ambassador program.

Caylea Denny, the daughter of Greg and Dusty Denny of rural Spencer, and Cayden Sparks, son of Stephani Sparks and Shane Sparks of Spencer, will travel to Europe in the summer of 2013.

In 1956, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sought diplomatic alternatives to the wars he witnessed as a soldier, general and Allied Commander. On September 11, 1956, he called a White House conference of 100 top American leaders, who joined him in creating the People to People initiative, focused on creating cultural exchange programs. The idea for this conference came after a Geneva summit, where Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev expressed enthusiasm for exchange programs as a means to ease Cold War tensions. Participants in this conference included Joyce Hall, comedian Bob Hope, and Walt Disney, who became one of the founding directors of People to People and later drew inspiration from the initiative to create the “It’s a Small World” attraction in 1964.

During the trips, students attend various outdoor and educational activities. Longer itineraries include class time with local teachers, where the student-teacher ratio is typically less than 10:1. College and high school credit for classes can also be earned, which is granted through Washington School of World Studies, which is operated by People to People, as well as Eastern Washington University. Students are considered based on grades, SAT scores, and recommendations by teachers or guidance counselors. Students then went through an interview and selection process.

The upcoming trip is called Mediterranean Traditions and will take Sparks and Denny to Spain, Italy and France. The students will also visit key cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Paris.

“One of the things we will do while in Spain is a home-stay where we stay with a Spanish family and we get an experience that is offered no where else,” Sparks said. “We also will do a community service project, which this year will be in Italy; we will be helping mentally challenged kids. And that only scratches the surface of what we will do.”

Sparks added that primary reason for participating in the program is to further their understanding of the world and other countries.

“For me, being able to travel around the world has been a educational and personal goal,” he noted. “We are looking forward to this opportunity to represent our community in a very positive way.”

The summer trip will span three weeks and the pair are currently working on raising much needed funding to cover the cost of the trip. Donations may be sent to 3033 State Road 46 West, Spencer, Indiana 47460. Include “People to People Initiative” on the memo line.

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