"Sweet!" Jedediah Pourier ex-claimed after hearing of his good fortune.
Compliments of the student government class of Colorado Northwest Community College (CNCC), the computer student had just been told that he won an all-expense paid trip to Europe.
Pourier, like a handful of other students, wrote an essay explaining why he should be picked to accompany other CNCC students and facility on a six-day spring break trip to Rome and Venice.
Pourier's article stood out because he stated a desire to experience some of Europe's ornate architecture and fountains, student government members said.
"I never win anything -- that is, anything big," Pourier said. "This is seriously a big deal."
First on Pourier's to-do list: Get a passport.
"I've been to Tijuana once," Pourier recalled, the extent of his traveling.
But experiencing new cultures is just as important as earning a textbook education, said Mary Karen Solomon, the chair of the Humanities and Social Science programs at CNCC.
That's one reason why the college offers yearly spring break trips for students and staff. The college extends that invitation to interested community members.
"For one thing, traveling helps you to see your country in a different light," Solomon said. "For students it's a broadening effect. It gives them a lot of confidence to see that people in different countries are just like them in many ways."
CNCC's spring break trips involve up to about 20 people. In the last few years groups have traveled to Paris, London and Rome. Last year's trip to Portugal was cancelled because of the fear of terrorist attacks to Americans traveling overseas.
The spring break trips usually range up to $1,300, with airfare, lodging and some food included. It's too late to sign up for this year's trip, but people are encouraged to inquire about traveling with the school program next year.
Student Government President Adam Allen hopes the group can continue to offer travel scholarships into the future. Only eight students applied although the government class posted flyers advertising the contest around campus.
To qualify students needed to be enrolled for at least six credit hours in the last two semesters.
"I think more people will find interest in (the contest) when they see it's not a hoax," Allen said. "I know if I saw a sign that said I could win a free vacation, I might have a hard time believing it too."
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.