Student wins trip overseas

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lorren Shaffer, a sophomore at Andalusia High School, has won a scholarship-funded trip to Italy, France and England through the People to People Ambassador Program. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News


Andalusia High School student Loreen Shaffer has been awarded one of 50 nationwide scholarships to fund an once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy, France and England.

Shaffer, the 15-year-old sophomore, won the “50 for Fifty” scholarship through thePeople to People Ambassador Programs, which is described as the world leader in global educational travel experiences.

Because of the scholarship, Shaffer received a place on the student ambassador delegation and will travel overseas in June.

Fifty full student ambassador scholarships are to be awarded to one student in each of the 50 states to further the organization’s long-term goal of building cultural awareness and global understanding.

“I am so excited to have this opportunity,” Shaffer said. “I am most looking forward to going to Italy. My daddy’s family is Italian, and this gives me the opportunity to learn more about my family heritage.

“This is so huge for me,” she said. “I’m just speechless at the thought that I get to have this amazing opportunity.”

Shaffer is the daughter of Jeremie and Frank Shaffer.

“I can’t begin to tell you how excited Lorren was to find out the news,” Jeremie said. “If anyone deserves to go on this trip it’s Lorren. At first, she was afraid to travel all that way by herself, but not now. We’re so proud of her.”

The only expense for Shaffer’s trip is travel to Atlanta, the cost of a passport and spending money.

At AHS, Shaffer is involved in band and chorus, and it’s these traits that will make her an exemplary student ambassador, her award letter stated.

The scholarship sweepstakes was open to full-time students in grades 5 through 12 who entered themselves via an online submission process. As one of the 50 winners, out of more than 60,000 entrants, Shaffer will have the opportunity to meet with a priest or monk in Italy and become friends with European students during a home stay with an Italian family on the Classics of Europe program. This is one of the more than 25 unique programs offered on all seven continents. Scholarship recipients were selected through a random drawing.

The nationwide scholarship sweepstakes was awarded in conjunction with People to People Ambassador Programs’ 50th anniversary of providing world-class international student travel.

“I’m excited that (Shaffer) has the opportunity to travel internationally with People to People Ambassador Programs,” said Michelle Shearer, 2011 National Teacher of the Year. “Having traveled to China and Japan as National Teacher of the Year, I know that educational travel is an invaluable opportunity to learn about cultural similarities and differences.”

Student travel with People to People expands students’ world views and stretches their horizons through education-based travel. Each program explores cultural attractions, offers home stays or other people-to-people moments, incorporates community involvement through service projects, and provides unique People to People moments like meeting with parliament members in the UK, laying wreaths of remembrance at Normandy or staying in sacred Maori sites in New Zealand.

Research shows that more than 80 percent of students who travel with People to People Student Ambassador Programs are accepted into the college of their choice.

People to People Ambassador Programs is the exclusive educational travel provider of People to People International (PTPI), a nonprofit organization founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote peace through understanding worldwide. Together, PTPI and People to People Ambassador Programs are united in a mission to bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange. For more information, visit