Freshman Jordan Allen will go ‘Just Overseas’ after receiving a travel scholarship to the Galapagos Islands

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Brent Wildhaber

Principal Jeremy Mitchell, freshman Jordan Allen, Language Coordinator Amy Belding and Spanish teacher Dominique Navarro pose for a photo to congratulate Allen on winning a travel scholarship to the Galapagos Islands from Just Overseas. Allen, Mitchell, Belding and Navarro presented the scholarship to Allen while he was in Modern United States History class. “I was extremely surprised and thankful when I was presented with the scholarship because it had been a while since I had applied and I knew that other people applied as well,” Allen said.

Imagine going to a place where there are active volcanoes, colorful birds called blue-footed boobies, iguanas, sea turtles, 400 different species of fish and hundred-year-old tortoises. This is a dream for many, but a reality for 40 Parkway students, including freshman Jordan Allen, traveling to the Galapagos Islands in July 2021. He applied for and won a travel scholarship from Just Overseas to help him pay for his trip.

“I got in contact with my counselor [Carly Roach] and asked her if there were any ways to get a scholarship to help me pay for [the trip]. She emailed me a couple of different ways and I applied for both of the scholarships,” Allen said.

Allen applied for the E.F. World tour Scholarship as well as the one he received from Just Overseas. The Just Overseas scholarship is a Parkway School District scholarship that is given to two Parkway students for an upcoming trip sponsored by Parkway. Students awarded the scholarship can receive up to $3,500.

“The trip costs $4,110, and their scholarship covered $3,500, and that’s a lot. So I have additional money to actually spend on the trip since I only have to pay $610 instead of $4,110,” Allen said.

Allen originally learned about the trip from his mom.

“I have never been outside of the U.S. and I saw this as a good opportunity to have fun and learn at the same time,” Allen said.

Allen was required to send in a two to a three-minute video of himself talking about what kind of impact the trip would have on him and why global competency is important to him. This was submitted to the scholarship program in late September 2019.

“When they came in [to award me the scholarship], I was expecting something, but I was curious too because I saw the balloons and I’m like ‘wait, whose birthday is it?’ Then they said that I had won, and I’m like, ‘wait, what?’” Allen said.

Forty students from all five Parkway high schools will be attending the trip as well as a committee of teachers, principals and district administration members. The trips sponsors are World Language, Global Studies & Choice Programs Coordinator Amy Belding and Assistant Principal Kate Piffel.

“I’m feeling pretty good about the trip. It should be a fun and exciting experience and one I can learn from,” Allen said.

Parkway offers this scholarship because they want students to increase awareness of global perspectives, foster appreciation for different cultures, strengthen new language skills, sharpen skills in a global setting and develop leadership to help students navigate new experiences successfully and confidently.

“One of the things I’m hoping on learning is what their culture is like and the major differences in the way of life on islands and the United States,” Allen said. “I think it [this trip] will be helpful to my future [so that] I can help influence the people near me, and the people that aren’t. So they can also make a bigger impact.”