It wasn't his first time on a plane but it was his first time out of the country.
George Hampton, SJHS Class of '19, was looking forward to immersing himself into Spain's culture. The Forest Park resident was on a quest last summer to fulfill the final condition for his Kappa League docket.
"Part of the program requires members to visit another country to evaluate the similarities and differences we have. It also looks good on a resume."
Kappa League, which helps provide skills for male minority students to succeed through high school and college, helped finance his trip through cooperation with AFS-USA Faces of America and the Crystal Fund.
"I've studied Spanish since middle school. It was pretty easy to get around and school there went well."
George joined approximately 45 other young people as on-campus students at Colegio San Estanislao de Kostka, where he attended Spanish language classes four hours a day, five days a week.
"On Fridays, we didn't study language. We talked about the sites we were required to see on Saturdays."
The opportunity to see some of Spain's historic and breath taking sites would never had taken place if it wasn't for a conversation he had with his grandmother, Jacqueline Hampton.
"She shared with me that my cousin was a member of Kappa League, and through this organization he was guided to scholarships which allowed him to attend the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It was really her who pushed me to get involved."
Beginning with informational meetings, George's application process began in October 2017 and included multi-level interviews before he was welcomed into the organization.
Before long, George and his fellow inductees were taking ACT and SAT preparation classes, researching colleges and scholarships and visiting such prestigious universities as Emory University and Morehouse College in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
"Besides learning about the programs the universities offered, it was an opportunity for leaders in the organization to see how each of us conducted ourselves in independent and unsupervised settings. It was a great experience."
George is looking forward to Kappa League's commencement ceremony this summer. Before an audience of the organization's alumni and other leaders, he will be seated at a table with three caps in front of him, representing the three schools he is most interested in attending and at which he has been accepted. The excitement will culminate when George puts on one of the caps, thus revealing his destination for the fall.
George is considering a number of universities in and out of state. He is thinking about a career in law or computer engineering.
"I can't say yet what three caps will be on that table in the summer, but I know it was worth the work to get to the point where I have to make those choices."
George, hats off to you! Congratulations! We're proud of you
Alumni Relations at St. Joseph High School