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Opportunity of a Lifetime: Local Student to Attend Summer School in Scotland

 By Emily Bontrager, NEMOnews Media Group 

Twelve-year-old Guinevere Barrientos is a sixth grader at Scotland County R-1, and she has been selected to attend the Gordonstoun International Summer School, which is located in the country of Scotland. 

She and her mother, Priscilla Flores, live outside of Rutledge, Missouri. The two moved to rural Missouri in August of 2021. 

Guinevere is a very active student at Scotland County. She is a member of the 6th grade book club, art club, and campus bowl. She also plays the flute in band and is the secretary of the Scotland County R-1 Elementary Student Council. 

The first time Guinevere learned about the school was from her mother, who came across the school online. 

“She showed me a video of the school and said that they accepted applications for a summer program. She asked if I might want to apply, and even though I said no at first, I later changed my mind,” Guinevere said. 

Priscilla contacted the Gordonstoun American Foundation, which provides scholarships for American students to attend the school. Guinevere filled out an application and wrote a personal essay about why she wanted to participate in the summer program. 

One of her teachers, Mrs. Cochran, wrote a recommendation letter to send with the application. 

After sending in the application, Guinevere and her mother waited patiently, but weeks went by without them hearing anything. The two thought the application had been rejected, but to Guinevere’s surprise, she had not only been accepted to attend the school, but she also won a full scholarship. This scholarship will help cover meals, tuition, and other accommodations during her stay at the school. 

“The day I learned I got accepted, I had to ask my mom to show me the very email that had been sent, just so I could really wrap my head around it,” Guinevere explained. 

According to Mrs. Cochran, there are around 300 students from 35 countries that are selected to attend Gordonstoun. 

“At this point, we are only aware of two other students from the United States that are attending,” Mrs. Cochran said. 

Guinevere will be attending the boarding school this summer from July 7 through July 31. 

This school will give her the opportunity to learn and participate in many fun and engaging activities during her stay. 

“The students at Gordonstoun International Summer School complete rigorous coursework with a strong focus in English Language Arts (listening, reading, writing, speaking), literature and creative writing, computing, and international citizenship. In addition to core classes, each student picks a club focus of football (soccer), drama, or water sports. The club focus will be mixed into the daily schedule for the students with sports (similar to Physical Education in the United States schools) and creative arts,” Mrs. Cochran explained. 

“One week of the three ½ week summer program will focus on recreation. Students will embark on canoeing, rock climbing, horseback riding, abseiling, kayaking, coasteering, gorge walking, canyoning and mountain biking adventures. They will explore the coast of Loch Ness, tour the Inverness, Cardor, and Brodie Castles, as well as visit the city of Elgin to tour its historic ruined Cathedral and museum.” 

The course subject that Guinevere is most excited to learn about is creative writing. 

“I want to be an author when I get older, so of course this would stick out to me. I love the idea of an entire class dedicated to writing your own story ideas,” Guinevere explained. 

“I am very excited as much as I am anxious about the opportunity. It’s in Scotland! I never would have imagined I’d be able to travel so far away from home.” 

Guinevere would like to thank her mom, grandmother, and all of her teachers, especially Mrs. Cochran, who wrote her recommendation letter for her application to Gordonstoun. 

“There are no words for how proud I am of Guinevere and her achievements. She is a dedicated student with an amazing drive for learning. This is an amazing summer program, and I cannot wait to hear all about her studies and adventures while at Gordonstoun,” Mrs. Cochran said. 

Guinevere’s mother created a GoFundMe page to help pay for a roundtrip ticket for the trip to Scotland. Their fundraising goal is $1,200, but any extra money raised will give Priscilla the opportunity to accompany Guinevere to Scotland and to spend some days sightseeing together before the school starts. 

“People can also feel free to submit donations at the Scotland County Elementary School. Any little bit would mean a lot to our family,” Priscilla said. 

Please feel free to contribute and support Guinevere’s trip at https:// This will be a trip of a lifetime for this local student and a great opportunity for her to experience. 

“I want to go to Gordonstoun to explore and to learn. I want to be able to have an experience I feel like I can really gain from. One of my top priorities is to always work on expanding my education, and I think going to the Gordonstoun program could contribute a lot to that,” Guinevere said.