Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Trip of a lifetime for Tauranga students

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HISTORY: Danielle Sigley, Hannah Treanor, Daisy Warren, Shanice Kuipa, Letitia Dixon, Bianca Ruegg, Amber Holdem, Anna McIlroy, Rori Baird, Chloe Townsend, and Murray Armstrong are heading to Europe in April. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
HISTORY: Danielle Sigley, Hannah Treanor, Daisy Warren, Shanice Kuipa, Letitia Dixon, Bianca Ruegg, Amber Holdem, Anna McIlroy, Rori Baird, Chloe Townsend, and Murray Armstrong are heading to Europe in April. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

Twenty-two local students are taking the trip of a lifetime to Europe to see the places they have been studying.

Tauranga Girls' College students have been fundraising for more than a year to get the $7000 each girl needs for their trip to France, Belgium, Italy and Greece in April, covering sites significant to the studies of both history and classical studies students.

This year is the centenary of major World War I battles fought on the Western Front, including the Battle of the Somme, an occasion the girls will be able to commemorate.

A military historian will take the girls to visit some of the battlefields and memorials from WWI that hold special significance to New Zealanders. In Belgium, the group will visit the Arras Tunnels and the Underground Quarry Museum. Here, the girls will don a uniform, carry a rifle and eat a "Tommy Tucker" lunch as part of a Passchendaele platoon experience.

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In Greece, the group will visit the Acropolis, the Corinth Canal, Mycenae, Epidaurus and Delphi. Moving to Italy, the girls will visit Pompeii and Herculaneum, ancient cities frozen in time after the 79AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. They will also take in the Colosseum, a gladiator school, the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, Pantheon and Trajan's Column. The last day of the tour will visit Vatican City.

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Hannah Treanor, 17, got a big helping hand towards expenses from family friend Max Mason, former Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive, who last year completed the Appalachian Trail. Mr Mason hosted a dinner and talk about his experiences on the trail, with the proceeds helping fund Hannah's trip.

"He did about a two-hour detailed talk about his trip and the people that he met and why he did it. It was really, really interesting to listen to."

Hannah is looking forward to visiting the Vatican City and Rome to see the art she has been learning about.

Letitia Dixon, 17, has been working hard at Bob Owens Retirement Village for more than a year to save money for her trip.

"I just worked a lot. I went on last year's Russia trip and saved money for that myself as well. After this trip, maybe I can save money for teenager things like a car."

Letitia's favourite part of the Russian trip was a visit to the country's Hermitage Museum, which housed a lot of ancient art.

Head of social sciences Murray Armstrong said the trip would give both the history and the classical studies students fodder towards their NCEA exams.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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