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Ken-Ton Spanish Exchange Club Returned From Overseas Trip | Schools

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Ken-Ton Spanish Exchange Club Returned From Overseas Trip
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Ken-Ton Spanish Exchange Club Returned From Overseas Trip

A group of 29 Kenmore East and West High School students traveled to Spain last month as part of the Ken-Ton Spanish Exchange Program’s partnership with a school in Zamora, El instituto de enseñanza Claudio Moyano, where they spent a total of ten days living in the European country.  Each of the students, 22 from Kenmore West and seven from Kenmore East, lived with a host student and family in Zamora, Spain. 

In addition to living with a Spanish host family and learning first-hand about a foreign culture, the students took an additional sight-seeing trip to Madrid, which is 160 miles away from Zamora.  Most of their time was spent attending classes with a Spanish-exchange student and living with his or her host family, most of whom did not speak one word of English.  This meant students needed to rely on their Spanish-speaking skills to communicate.

“They were living in real-world, authentic Spanish situations, and our students had to master and use the Spanish language to survive.  As a Middle School teacher, I was very proud to see how well my former students, who are now in high school, spoke and embraced the Spanish culture.  They did not want to leave.  They connected with the Spanish students,” said trip chaperone and Kenmore Middle School Spanish teacher Michael LaPaglia.

The early-April trip included tours of numerous cathedrals and trips to the University of Salamanca, which is the oldest university in Spain that dates back to the thirteenth century. Other historic cities visited were Toledo, Segovia, and San Lorenzo de Escorial. Other notable sites visited were the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum, and Queen Sofia’s Museum where students saw Picasso’s famous painting “Guernica.”

“Wonderful.  Incredible.  No doubt I am going back in December. I learned a lot about their culture.  Staying with another family was the most interesting.  Our host families did not speak English and we ate dinner very late at night,” said Kenmore West High School Senior Jamie Eichinger, who plans to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain during her third year at Buffalo State College.

“The trip was excellent.  It was well worth it.  I did not want to go home.  By totally immersing ourselves in the culture, it completely changed the way I think about Spain and the people who live there.  It was the most exciting trip I ever had,” said Kenmore East High School Junior Liam Jones.

Students from the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District and Spain have been crossing the Atlantic Ocean as part of an exchange program going back to 2004, when a group of students from Zamora first came to Western New York.  Since then Ken-Ton students have traveled to Spain in odd years, with them heading to Zamora this year, in 2011. Chaperones for this year’s trip were LaPaglia, Kyle Mittlefehldt from Kenmore West, Kenmore West teacher and Ken-Ton Spanish Exchange Club Advisor Georgia Smith, and Kenmore East Spanish Club Advisor Mrs. Ivette Padin.

Ken-Ton students who attended the student exchange trip to Spain were:  Corey Weigand, Dana Whitelaw, Tyler Coniglio, Joel Stith, DJ Berns, Cristiano Burgio, Liam Jones, Jaime Eichinger, Alanna Blasting, Dominick Roa, Anna Gordon, Laura Doxbeck, Mathieu Salazar, Spencer Gates, Katelyn Rauh, Connor Lloyd, Kaitlyn Powers, Paige Reitmeier, Victoria Crespo, Kate Oexle, Anna Blatz, Stacey Rogers, Lauren  Murzynowski, Lyndsay Raymond, Tara Johnson, Sarah Garbin, Dominique Rodriguez, Olivia Butkowski, Elizabeth Pellegrino.

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