Two Juniors Selected to Study Abroad in Spain


Peyton Keller

Keller (left) with Luzzi and Matern (right).

To many teens, spending two weeks in Europe during the summer sounds like a dream. This dream will become a reality for juniors Peyton Keller and Alayna Matern; from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 30, the two students will embark on a trip in Spain, working with the program Pueblo Inglés to interact with Spanish peers in English.  

Keller and Matern discovered the program through Spanish teacher William Luzzi. “Señor Luzzi sent out a link, and I checked it out and it was super cool,” Matern said. Luzzi was introduced to the program through his colleague, fellow Spanish teacher Danielle Leighley. “She knows a few people who have attended in the past. It sounded like an awesome program,” Luzzi shared.  

Although the program had a relatively simple application process, Keller noted how competitive the application was: “Over a thousand people applied for the trip.” Nonetheless, once the girls signed up, they shortly thereafter received an email with further information, allowing them to select the dates of their trip.  

The goal of the trip is for Keller and Matern to help girls their age practice English in a real-life setting. “Naturally, [Keller and Matern] will both be using English and Spanish to communicate, and it will be an excellent opportunity to practice and enhance their Spanish-speaking skills,” Luzzi commented.  

Both students are elated about the trip. While in Badajoz, Spain, Keller and Matern will be provided with housing accommodations and meals, along with other amenities. “With this program, we don’t only get all our meals, but a tour of Madrid as well as a few other perks,” Keller shared.  

Keller’s excitement about the program stems from trying new experiences: “I am most excited to be in Spain and to interact with new people, but I am super nervous to travel to a foreign country on my own.” Matern, on the other hand, is looking forward to traveling solo. “I’m excited to just be abroad on my own without my parents,” Matern said.  

Keller and Matern excel in their Spanish classroom, making them qualifying candidates for the trip, according to Luzzi. “Peyton and Alayna are both very fun, ambitious students who have taken pride in language learning. They speak Spanish in class 90% of the time or more! They are both engaged, hardworking, and each has a great sense of humor,” Luzzi reflected.  

Both girls are grateful for the assistance that Luzzi has given them in allowing them to receive this opportunity. “Mr. Luzzi has been and will continue to be a huge help,” Keller shared.  

Luzzi is excited and proud of his students and the opportunity that they have both received. “I feel like it will be an unforgettable experience, and knowing that I helped them along the way makes me feel very happy. If I can encourage a few students a year to expand their horizons and take language learning into their own hands, I feel like I have been successful,” Luzzi commented. As for Keller and Matern, they too feel that this will be an unforgettable experience. “I will learn so much even though I am the one teaching,” Keller said.  

As for advice to other foreign language students, Luzzi provided a reminder that there are so many options. “There are plenty of programs out there…If you would like to pursue a program, go for it. You are likely to have a life-changing experience. Although it may be difficult at times to come out of your comfort zone, you will likely learn a lot about life and yourself and have a life-changing experience. Reach out to teachers if you are interested and need some guidance; we are happy to help!” Luzzi exclaimed. Matern’s advice? “Don’t ignore your email. If I had just disregarded the email from Senor Luzzi, I’d never be going on this trip,” Matern said.  

Keller and Matern are both looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. ¡Buen viaje!