The Pel Mel

Exciting People of Pelham (EPoP): Michael Salama

Michael Salama says ‘Hola’ from Spain

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Exciting People of Pelham (EPoP): Michael Salama

  Michael smiles alongside a fellow scholarship winner in the calles bonitas of Spain.

Michael smiles alongside a fellow scholarship winner in the calles bonitas of Spain.

Photo courtesy of Michael Salama

Michael smiles alongside a fellow scholarship winner in the calles bonitas of Spain.

Photo courtesy of Michael Salama

Photo courtesy of Michael Salama

Michael smiles alongside a fellow scholarship winner in the calles bonitas of Spain.

SJ O’Connor, Junior, Associate Editor-in-Chief

The experience of learning a language is often enhanced when one is able to study among native speakers. Senior Michael Salama was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to do this from July 10-20, after scoring among the top individuals on the National Spanish Exam. The National Spanish Exam is an optional test offered every year, which allows students to see where they place in comparison to other kids who take the same level of Spanish throughout the U.S. When Salama received his results sophomore year, he was deemed eligible for a cash scholarship. He is the second in the family to receive this prestigious honor. His older brother, Jordan, was also honored during his senior year.

“The award that Michael received is awarded to only 23 students nationwide,” Spanish teacher Mrs. Brown said. “It’s an amazing and gratifying feeling when your student has a goal in mind and you’re there to witness the process and see him or her achieve it.”

Instead of the monetary scholarship, Michael applied for a trip that was offered to students who earned high scores. He stayed at the University of Madrid for ten days with 24 other kids of the same age from across the nation.

“We went to some really old cities with a lot of culture, which was very cool because they were all built before the Inquisition. We saw a lot of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim mixed-cultural influences. At the same time, I liked seeing the contrast of a modern city in Madrid,” Salama said.

They learned about the city of Madrid, the subway system, and currency. Afterward, the group took day trips to places outside of Madrid including Toledo and Segovia. Throughout the trip, the participants were encouraged to speak Spanish to each other. The students also interviewed people who lived in Spain, and found that their lifestyle is a lot more relaxed and less work-oriented than the ones we lead in Pelham.

“I had never been to Europe before this trip, so it was a great experience. I also spoke a ton of Spanish, so my skills definitely developed further. I met a lot of really cool people, both who live in Spain and who were on the trip with me,” Salama said. “Spanish is definitely one of my favorite subjects, “ Salama added. “I enjoy learning it a lot, and plan to continue studying it in college.”

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Exciting People of Pelham (EPoP): Michael Salama