Commentary by Donna Monday
A trio of Zionsville Community High School graduates from the class of 2019 are embarking on a learning and working adventure in Spain later this month.
Ryann Bowers, Joey Kurek and Mary Griffin will participate in the North American Language and Cultural Assistance Program.
All three are college graduates who have previously visited Spain. Bowers graduated from Purdue with a major in brain and behavior science. Kurek is a Harvard graduate with a degree in linguistics. Griffin, a Butler graduate, studied languages.
The NALCAP is sponsored by the government of Spain. The program’s purpose is to advance English language learning and mutual understanding through cultural exchange. The three will serve as language assistants under the supervision and guidance of teachers in Spain.
“My role is to be a native speaker,” Bowers said. “I’m assisting an English teacher and sharing my culture from the U.S. and the native pronunciation of words.”
Bowers and Kurek will be in the Province of Valencia. Bowers will teach in an elementary school in Tuéjar, while Kurek will teach in La Pobla de Vallbona. Griffin will be in a different part of the country in Galicia Muros.
The three Americans are fluent in a number of languages. Kurek had a headstart in Spanish, as his mother is from Ecuador, and as a child, he spent summers there with his grandmother.
Bowers has applied to a number of medical schools and plans to attend one in the fall of 2024. She was a 500 Festival Princess but did not apply to be the 500 Queen because she could not fulfill the duties while teaching in Spain.
Kurek and Griffin want careers employing their foreign language skills. Kurek plans to obtain a master’s degree in either machine translation or natural language processing. Griffin plans to get a master’s degree in translation.
Kurek and Bowers are scheduled to depart Sept. 2. Griffin leaves Sept. 25. The program runs from Oct. 1 to May 1. As they say in Spain, buen viaje (have a good trip).