Five Capistrano Valley High School students and their teacher were awarded a trip to Moscow this week after being one of four Southern California teams to win the Ambassadors to Europe Competition.
The students made up one of 12 teams chosen from among an original field of hundreds of schools to compete in the finals of the event, which tested the students on their knowledge of European history in an oral competition.
Capistrano Valley was the only Orange County school to qualify for the finals. The other finalists were from Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Diego and San Bernardino counties.
The event, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Times in Education Program and Lufthansa German Airlines, was developed to further educational ties and promote knowledge of Moscow and Eastern Europe, organizers said.
The Capistrano Valley team consists of students Osvaldo Pereira, Chris Dirpes, Theresa Benefield, Geeta Bahl and Nicole Sahl.
They qualified for the finals after working together to write a four-page essay titled "Moscow and Eastern Europe in the '90s."
They will be joined in Moscow by their faculty adviser, James Corbett, who is the newspaper adviser and a social science teacher at Capistrano Valley.
"We are absolutely ecstatic," said school Principal Jessica Leadley. "These students were very motivated. They really wanted to participate in the program, wanted to be on the team and worked very hard to prepare for the competition."
The students will leave for Moscow on June 2. Their nine-day trip will include educational and sightseeing excursions, organizers said.