Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
Students at Macon Early College (MEC) have been learning about Ancient Greece in History and studying the “Odyssey and the Iliad” in English class. Thomas Shepherd, MEC English Instructor, decided it would be a great idea if the students could actually visit Greece to see and learn about its ancient and rich history. So, he and 25 students decided they would book a trip to Greece. That was two years ago, and students have been fundraising since, to earn enough money to pay for the trip. They bussed tables at Jaxson’s Pizza, sold Krispy Kreme Donuts, and held pot-luck lunches for staff at MEC, the library and Southwestern Community College. After two years of fundraising, the 16 remaining students divided the $9,400 earned from the fundraisers in order to help pay for the trip which cost $2,500 each. They all put in the remainder of the money themselves, to cover the full cost. Included in the cost was the flight to Greece, hotel for seven days, breakfast and dinner each day and a tour guide who will show them all the special places of interest and historical sites that Greece is known for.
A rich itinerary
Their itinerary includes travel to Athens City Walk. This walk includes the district of Plaka which borders Acropolis and on to the Temple of Olympian Zeus. On day three there is a full day Gulf Cruise Excursion which leads from the islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina in the Saronic Gulf. The Ruins of Delphi await the students on day four. Day five they travel to ancient Olympia, the former locale of the historic Olympic Games. Athens is the destination on day six along with a guided tour of Mycenae & Epidaurus, a former health clinic and spa with a 4th century BC amphitheater. The next day they experience Athens landmarks including the Parthenon, Acropolis, Temple of Athena Nike, Omonoia Square, Syntagma Square, the 2004 Olympic Site and concludes with a Greek dinner in Plaka. Day eight culminates with Cape Sounion guided excursion and on to the Temple of Poseidon.
Katelynn Loftin was one of the students going on the trip.
“It is a great opportunity to be in another country and experience their culture and food firsthand,” said Loftin.
Isabel Evans recognizes that the trip is likely a once-in-a-lifetime venture.
“I would never have been able to go had this not been so planned out. I am excited to try the food and I want to take a lot of pictures,” said Evans.
“I am very excited, I have always wanted to go to Greece to experience their history and culture. It is an experience I will carry with me my whole life.” Said Austin Doster.
Shepherd and four chaperones, Jim Breedlove, Board of Education Chairman, Kathy Breedlove, MEC Guidance Counselor, and Miranda Shepherd, Mountain View Intermediate School English Teacher departed with the 16 students on Saturday, March 9, for the week long trip. They were granted use of a Macon County School bus to drive to the Atlanta Airport for their departure flight to Greece. They will be returning on March 17 like with exciting stories to share with their classmates and families.