9 who shine: Going to Greece

In two days, Spain Park graduating senior Erica Hale will be on a flight to a new life in Zakynthos, one of the Ionian Islands in Greece.

Hale, who has decided to take a gap year before she heads off to college, found a job working in guest services at a resort on Zakynthos.

She will get free room and board, along with a small paycheck.

She decided she wanted to visit Greece after taking a Latin class in high school.

“We learned about the history and stuff, and it made me want to go there,” Hale said. “It’s the fact that I’m going to be on an island, and I want to learn more about the culture.”

Although Hale made the decision to go in November 2008, it took a little longer to convince her father to let her go.

“It took a few months to talk him into it,” she said, laughing.

Hale will stay in Greece until November 2009, when she will come home. However, even then, her overseas travels won’t be over.

She plans to travel with another gap year program in the spring of 2010 before making her college choice.

Hale said the year is a way for her to take time to decide what she wants to do with her life.

“I was really confused, so I just decided to take a year off and then go back to school,” she said.