SLHS Spanish Club takes on another adventure to Ecuador!


Courtesy Photo

SLHS Spanish club stands together with their tour guide Lorena Gencón Bonilla(far right).

Bee Elsea, Staff Writer

The St. Louis High School Spanish III and Spanish IV classes spent their spring break together in Ecuador. The students traveled with teachers Mr. Kuhn and Ms. Kisser – Kisser is the one who made the whole trip happen. Tina (Myah Pitcher’s mom), and Jeremy and Stacey Haag (Mikayla Haag’s parents) also helped chaperone! They left March 23, 2023, and arrived home March 31, 2023. 

Of course, the Spanish club couldn’t explore this country all alone.  The club was accompanied by Education First Tour guide Lorena Gencón Bonilla. Gencón Bonilla showed this awesome group around Ecuador while highlighting different cultures, foods, and languages.  “Lorena honestly was one of the best parts of Ecuador, and she turned out to be our friend. She was so funny and we had a quick goodbye from her which was really disappointing because we all connected with Lorena. I added her on Facebook, so we are friends on there! I will truly miss Lorena. She gave us an awesome experience,” commented Autumn Mann.

The group consisted of mostly juniors, due to the small number of seniors taking Spanish this year with a total of 25 kids and five adults on the trip. They flew from Detroit to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Quito; on their way home, they took the same flights in reverse.

Ms. Kisser said that this trip was first planned in October of 2021. 

Kisser reflected on the experience and said, “I felt like I participated in all of the activities, so I don’t have any regrets there. I do wish that, as a group, we could have done some reflection and discussion about the day’s activities as the trip progressed. My favorite activities were the times we spent with indigenous communities in the Amazon region. I especially enjoyed the last night when we all sang and danced around a campfire. It was a really special experience to see all my students up and dancing in the firelight.”

The group went on many adventures, including: city tours, Devil’s Cauldron waterfall, cooking classes, cathedral tours, candy workshops, salsa lessons, lots of hikes, whitewater rafting, cultural rituals, and explored plenty of markets!

According to the students’ mutual agreement, the white water rafting was one of the best parts of the trip. “My favorite activity was white water rafting because I had never done it before, and I liked working together with a group to make sure we didn’t tip over when going over giant waves,” said Laney Pestrue. “My favorite memories from the trip are white water rafting, hiking to see a waterfall called the Devil’s Cauldron, and playing pool in the Amazon. I had fun, (and)I would definitely go back because they had really good chocolate there, and it was awesome to be immersed in an entirely different culture,” she added.

While on the trip, the group found new things they found strange, new, and interesting. “It was surprising how many stray dogs were there. I knew there would be some, but I didn’t know we would see five around every corner. That made me sad, although we learned that a lot of them actually have homes, but their owners let them roam free during the day,” Pestrue said.

Ms. Kisser has said she is excited for the 2025 Spanish trip where she will take the kids to Costa Rica! There will be a selection process for those interested in this specific trip.