West Salem eighth-grader’s essay wins her spot on Discover Crew European river cruise

Emily Pyrek:

It was the West Salem Middle School eighth-grader’s winning prose and enthusiastic photo that earned her one of 56 spots on the Discover Crew AmaWaterways river cruise, departing March 27 for a weeklong excursion of exploration, education, cultural immersion and local delicacies.

Hosted by AAA, more than 1,000 eighth-graders in 11 states entered the Discover Crew contest, which entailed answering essay questions and snapping a self portrait showcasing their thirst for travel.

Priya was one of five Wisconsin students selected for the trip, her photo depicting her at the water’s edge, traditional wooden clogs on her feet and passport in hand.

“We were amazed by the passionate responses from the many students who expressed their interest in going on this trip,” said Deborah Haas, vice president of travel products and services for AAA. “The winners chosen are different in many ways, but each shares a similar enthusiasm for travel. Soon these students will immerse themselves in different cultures and see what it’s like to be an eighth-grader in two different countries. This truly has the potential to be a life-changing experience.”

Priya will be joined by her mother and fellow student winners and chaperones on the flight to Amsterdam and all-expenses-paid cruise through the North Sea, porting in the Netherlands and Belgium for tours of the Anne Frank House, biking past the Holland windmills and smelling the blooms in the Keukenhof garden, which spans 32 hectares in Lisse.

Along the way, lessons will encompass local history, science, nature, sustainability, art and an immersive classroom experience in each country.