Every year English teacher Natasha Kasprzyk leads a school trip to a new country with different students around the school. This year Kasprzyk invited students to travel with her to the lush lands of Costa Rica. She had three students join her on the trip over spring break, and they spent the whole week in the forests, at the beach, and many other locations. Junior Leena Ettachfini, Junior Carsyn Spencer, and Sophomore Audra Walgreen joined Kasprzyk on this trip. Long before leaving Ettachfini had the opportunity to write for a scholarship for money to help pay for her trip. After a long time of waiting she discovered that she had won the national contest. “When I found out I got the scholarship, I was incomplete shock. I couldn’t believe I had actually gotten it! I was so happy and grateful that I was able to win the scholarship”, stated Ettachfini. The scholarship not only had 1,000 dollars for her, but it gave 250 dollars to Walgreen and Spencer for their trip. In addition Kasprzyk won $500 in a raffle for one of the students next year for their trip to Greece. Kasprzyk said her “heart exploded! I ran around the school, trying to find Leena -- of course she was in AP Lang -- I should have known! They were in the middle of a timed write, so I (impatiently) waited in the English office until they finished, and I made the announcement in front of Leena's class. It was one of the coolest moments in my teaching career.”  This opportunity was so special for Ettachfini as she begins to start looking into colleges. The Scholarship was a huge opportunity for them to use their creativity to potentially earn money to offset the cost of the trip. “We went walking through San Jose to look at the historic buildings and art. Then, went to Monteverde to go ziplining through the tropical rainforest. We also got to visit a local school and meet and play with the children. There were two beach days where we got to relax and enjoy the beautiful beach. We finished the trip off with a dance lesson in San Jose”, said Ettachfini. Next year  Kasprzyk is planning a 9 day cruise to Greece with Librarian Damon Larson and Practical Arts teacher Laura Sierra. With this many Chaperones, they are hoping to have more students sign up for this opportunity of a lifetime. By doing this with three teacher, the trip will have all Chaparral students instead of different students from around the country. As this will be her 5th trip with students, Kaprzyk wants this to be one of the best trips yet. All of the school trips happen over Spring Break. High School can offer students many things, but most don’t know about this incredible chance to travel around the world with friends before even graduating High School. Kasprzyk is a mom for a few days on each and everyone of these trips, as well as a teacher because she teaches the students about cultural differences, and appreciation for everyone. She will be available for more information about next year's trip to Ancient Greece in room number 303 or through email.

Story by Ava Houghton