Students, teachers travel to Spain

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 27, 2000

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / May 27, 2000

RESERVE – Students and spring vacation usually conjures up one image- wild parties on the beaches of Florida. However, for four students at EastSt. John High School, this spring vacation was something very unique andeducational and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

They all took a tour of Spain.

The trip was the brainchild of senior student Annabelle Jacob and Spanish teacher Elizabeth Leatherwood.

“It took us a year to plan all this,” said Leatherwood.

At first they thought of going to other Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico or somewhere in South America, but Spain has a special appeal to them.

“The kids figured they would eventually get to visit Mexico, but Spain and Europe would not be so easy to get to,” said Leatherwood.

For all the students it was their first trip to Europe, and for some it was their first plane ride, their first subway and taxi rides, too. The trip wasa graduation present for three of the students, but for sophomore Jennifer Tamburo it was a real project to realize her dream of going to Spain.

“Jennifer raised $3,000 by herself working at a summer job,” said a proud Leatherwood.

All the students said they would like to thank teacher David Beadle, who gave each of them $75 in spending money the day before they left for Spain.

Leatherwood and her husband, special education teacher Vaughn Leatherwood, went along as advisors and chaperons.

They took off from New Orleans April 20, landed in Spain six hours later then traveled north to the town of Segovia.

An ancient town of Spain, Segovia was everybody’s favorite place.

Nicole Borne said, “Segovia was my favorite. It was so small andprovincial.” She added, “It was like being in a James Bond movie with allthese little cars, little streets and motorcycles.”Being students of the Spanish language helped them a lot.

“I think Ms. Leatherwood was amazed that I remembered so much Spanish,”said Borne, who is also president of the school’s Spanish Club.

Senior Josh McPhail said he was able to communicate and get a haircut in the town of Salamanca.

However, Leatherwood said the rapid Castillian Spanish with all the lisping did throw her at first.

“I thought I had forgotten all my Spanish the first day we were there,” Leatherwood said with a laugh.

McPhail said he liked to watch the bullfights on television. The group triedto go to a bullfight, but it was the height of the bullfighting season and tickets were impossible to obtain. The students said one ticket to abullfight was $100.

“We knew it would be bloody,” said Jacob. “But we really wanted to see it.”On their trip south to Madrid the group visited the towns of Salamanca, Cadiz, Seville, Alcazar and Cordoba.

Borne was able to have lunch with her Honduran aunt who lived in Cadiz.

Jacob, who enjoys getting to know different cultures, was impressed with the history of the country.

“Everything and everywhere is packed with history,” said Jacob. “Like theRoman ruins were just really interesting.”If there was something the kids were not impressed with, it was the food.

Compared to the spicy foods of the River Parishes, both students and teachers found Spanish food to be a bit bland.

Even though Tamburo liked the calimari and the ice cream, she said, “The bread was too hard, and they never had any pepper on the tables.”Borne and Jacob both agreed the waiters and waitresses were a bit rude to them.

“But then, they make a set salary and don’t work for tips,” said Jacob.

On the whole, all four students didn’t think the Spanish people were very nice.

In defense of the Spanish, Leatherwood said, “They were nice, but not very out going.”When they got to Madrid, they were surprised at the size of the city.

“Madrid was really, really big,” reported Jacob.

They got to tour the world-famous museum, the Prado, but they were disappointed that the tour was not long enough.

“I wish I could have stayed in the Prado all day,” lamented Jacob. “It wasjust too short.”For both teachers and students, the trip was a wonderful experience and they all agreed they want to go back.

Borne said she wants to go back to Spain because of all the great shopping and the “party atmosphere.” Jacob said it was a very safe country and shenever felt threatened walking the streets at night.

Vaughn Leatherwood said, “It was the cleanest country I have ever seen.”Tamburo had a unique observation of the culture.

“Every toilet had a different way to be flushed,” she said, “and they are very energy efficient over there.”The trip to Spain has put the traveling bug in Jacob. Her next trip is toFrance.

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