District News

OHHS art teachers take students to Spain

Posted on: August 11, 2016
Spain Trip

When you walk into Oak Hills High School, you will see the mission statement in large letters above the front office doors. In ends with the sentence, “Students will achieve success by graduating with a shared sense of global awareness.” Photography teacher and Oak Hills graduate, Steve Groh, takes that goal very seriously.

In 2014, Groh and his family took 23 students on a cultural exploration of nine cities in France and Italy. It was a wonderful experience for everyone involved, so he began planning another adventure as soon as he returned. It took a few years, but this summer the Groh family returned to Europe again. This time they took 31 current and former Oak Hills students on a tour of Spain that lead them all over the country; from biking the streets of Barcelona to swimming in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Malaga.

Spain Trip

Adding to the fun, Jamie Schorsch, the head of the OHHS art department was able to come along as an extra chaperone. Emily Storch, a former student of Groh and a 2002 Oak Hills graduate, who is now an art teacher herself, was also able to join the crew with her husband Shaun Ketterman who works at the University of Kentucky. Groh’s wife, Marisa, was a teacher at Rapid Run Middle School during their last European tour, but this year she moves over to the high school to teach. Their son Riley will also be heading to the high school this year.

“Our youngest son Henry still has a few years left at Rapid,” Groh said. “After that, the entire Groh family will be packing into one car each day to head to Oak Hills.”

Spain Trip

The first group Groh took overseas was a spectacular group of students and he was thrilled that this new group was able to meet the high bar that had been set. Recent graduate Kourtney Feller was one of the many students who felt the experience had been transformative. “The trip to Spain was the greatest adventure of my life,” she wrote upon her return. “I will never forget running through the streets of Barcelona in the rain or seeing Picasso’s painting of Guernica in Madrid.”

Shawn Knecht, a 2016 Oak Hills graduate, added, “This trip has honestly changed my life. My passion for travel has grown into a passion for culture and human interaction…I am so much more certain of I want to do in life.” Knecht shared that the trip helped reassure him that he wanted to study a mix of international relations and public affairs, with a minor in Spanish. He explained that this interested was definitely fueled by his trip. “Ever since Spain, I have taken a heavy interest in the possibilities of working with the Peace Corps,” he said.

Spain Trip

It is comments like this that have inspired Groh to plan another trip for 2018. “This time I am taking my Highlanders to the highlands! We are going to go to Scotland and Ireland. I am hoping one of my talented photo students will be able to get a good shot of the Loch Ness monster.”