Conroy Guyer, an English teacher in the Fox Chapel Area, traveled so often after retirement that he earned enough air miles to fly free on the supersonic Concorde from Paris to New York.
Guyer, who died in 2021, wanted to ensure his passion for exploration continued.
He bequeathed money to AFS USA for scholarships to travel abroad. The fund is specifically for students who are struggling financially and otherwise would not be able to travel the world.
“He really wanted to reach out to students who weren’t academically great and give them a chance to achieve something,” said longtime friend Tom Bajorek, who was responsible for designing the scholarship program.
Applications for a two-week trip to Spain this summer are open through Feb. 28 through Fox Chapel Area High School’s Counseling and Quest offices.
No Spanish language experience is required, but students will have classes in the morning to facilitate assimilation. Afternoon excursions will visit historical and cultural sites.
Bajorek met Guyer, a longtime Greensburg resident, nearly two decades ago and recalled his love for teaching, travel and conversation.
“He often traveled to New York, California, Europe and Australia,” Bajorek said. “He always wanted to share his love of travel with others, which is why the scholarship at AFS is so relevant.”
An avid theatergoer, Guyer loved the symphony and the Civic Light Opera, but avoided giving hoity-toity perceptions.
“He was a well-known patron of some of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh, but he always wore his baseball cap,” Bajorek said.
“Conroy and I were theater and dining buddies and would chat for hours over dinner, martinis and wine about the play or musical event we had just seen, or politics or life in general. One of the recurring topics was students and people who had difficulty achieving their life goals due to a lack of finances, status, or experience.
“He had a soft spot for students who didn’t necessarily do well academically, but had talent or a passion for something they wanted to pursue.”
Carol Huff, an AFS volunteer, said Guyer was a beloved teacher from 1965 to 1997 who always made time to talk with students.
He was known to wear cleats to give ample notice when walking the halls on smoking patrol, she said.
“He was a great storyteller and was kind to his students,” Huff said.
Her generosity will allow students to apply for a two-week adventure in Valladolid, a historic town north of Madrid.
Participants will explore palaces, castles and Roman ruins and practice talking at the table with a host family while tasting local cuisine.
“They will gain unique insight into contemporary global issues by volunteering with refugee children in the region,” Huff said.
Special excursions will be made to Salamanca to visit a 12th century cathedral and to the legendary Roman aqueduct of Segovia to see the Alcazar Palace. A visit to Madrid’s version of Times Square, Puerta del Sol, is also a highlight of the program.
“This is a unique opportunity to improve or start your second language skills, build lasting friendships and give back to the community,” Huff said.
For more details visit afsusa.org/programs/spain-global-prep.