CRESTVIEW — Next summer, Louis Luna III will join People to People's European Heritage educational exploration of England, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.
The rising Crestview High School sophomore was first invited to join a People to People educational tour when he was a sixth-grader living in North Carolina.
"But that was for China, and I'm not as interested in China, so I thought I'd wait 'til a European trip came up," Louis said.
In May, as his freshman year at Crestview High was ending, he received an invitation to be an ambassador on the European Heritage tour.
"I was like, 'Oh my God! Finally!'" Louis said.
A family of ambassadors
Last month, Louis interviewed with People to People and received his official acceptance.
June 1, he met the organization's Northwest Florida representative in Pensacola in the first of 12 monthly orientation and instructional meetings.
"He is very excited. He is ready to go," his mother, Becci Luna, said. "We were excited when it became his turn."
Louis' older siblings, Matthew and Allison, were People to People ambassadors to Europe and Australia, respectively.
Louis said his trip will be a sort of homecoming. When he was an infant, his dad, Louis Luna Jr., was stationed in Europe with the U.S. Army.
"I was so young I don't remember any of it, so I hope I can revive some hidden memories when I go," Louis said.
Activities and interests
In Europe, Louis will attend a West End musical, meet with a member of Parliament, meet World War II veterans, explore Versailles Palace, visit Flanders Field, climb Cologne cathedral, stay with a German family, work a community service project in a German village, and participate in a scavenger hunt in Zurich.
At school, Louis is a member of the Junior ROTC and the National Honor Society. He plans to join Crestview High's chess club in the fall.
He volunteers with Operation Homefront, which helps military families; was recognized by Shoal River Middle School for his community volunteerism; and received the President's Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence in 2012.
He plans to raise the more than $6,000 tuition for the People to People trip.
"It's not cheap, I know that," Louis said.
"We already know it's a great program," Becci Luna said. "It's just exciting that now it is his turn."
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.