Visiting Greece is the chance of a lifetime for Kathy Simpson, the math and biology instructor at Colorado Northwestern Community College.
"Because of the classical education I had as a young girl, actually being able to see the sites that I've studied ... that'll be fabulous," Simpson said.
She and two other CNCC instructors -- Mary Karen Solomon and Kathy Ross -- are taking 19 students and community members on a trip to Greece on March 15 through March 26.
The group's itinerary features traveling in Athens and trips to the islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Destinations include the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, Agora, Oracle at Delphi and museums, as well as a side trip to an active volcano.
"This is going to be a new experience," Simpson said, noting no one who is going has visited Greece before.
Simpson and Solomon chose Greece for this year's trip -- the women have been organizing trips for six years -- because of the educational opportunities in humanities, literature, art and architecture.
Simpson and Solomon began hosting the trips through CNCC as a way to allow residents to travel with guidance. Previous destinations include Rome, Paris and Prague.
"I think our motivation is indeed to give people in our community a chance to stretch a bit and travel internationally," Simpson said. "Our intent really is to expose people to different cultures."
The three instructors will lead the trip for community members and six CNCC students, who are taking the trip for three credits. This is the first year the college has offered the trip for credit.
Those students will keep a journal while overseas and write a 10- to 12-page paper when they return.
The college's student government awarded four partial scholarships -- the group usually gives one full scholarship -- to help full-time students afford the $2,500 trip. Students wrote essays about why they wanted to visit Greece to win the scholarships.
Student government awarded Hannah Miller and Alyssa Macomber $1,000 each and Jenna Cook and Dreana Pietrick $500 each.
Jacque Archuleta, student government president, said the organization presented the scholarships "to be able to give students in the school the opportunity to go to great places like these."
Archuleta, who also is making the trip, said she is looking forward to seeing places she's seen in textbook pictures.
"I am most excited to go see everything, stuff you read about in books," Archuleta said. "Most people don't get the opportunity to go and see those places. I feel very lucky."