January 31, 2002 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

A group of La Grande High School students will be stepping back in time.

The students are preparing to make a trip in June to see Spains medieval castles.

LHS Spanish teacher Amelia Ettinger will lead the students on the 12-day journey.

The many Spanish castles her students will visit include El Escorial, which some Spaniards refer to as the eighth wonder of the world. The Renaissance palace has 16 courtyards, 2,673 windows, 1,250 doors, 86 staircases and 88 fountains.

This will be the second time Ettinger has taken students to Spain. She is excited about the opportunity the trip will provide students to learn not only history but also Spanish.

It is important that they see the language used in the real world, not just the classroom, Ettinger said.

She added that trips like this give young people a lasting taste of the culture outside of Northeast Oregon and the United States.

It gives them a chance to celebrate diversity, Ettinger said. She has been impressed at how much students develop during such trips.

It is amazing. They mature so much, Ettinger said.

She anticipates that Spains castles again will make a lasting impression.

One reason is that the castles represent European kingdoms from centuries ago. Many of the castles are in remarkable condition.

This blows (the students) minds, Ettinger said.

Students will also visit several cities including Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Cordoba.

The June 13-25 trip will run $2,225. The cost covers airfare, hotels, all excursions and two meals a day. Students are responsible for raising their own money.

People who would like to make donations for the trip should send them to Spanish Club-Spain Trip, La Grande High School, 708 K Ave., La Grande 97850.

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