Senior Adult & Travel Program hosting showcase of tours for next year

Free event will detail 2018 trips to Australia, Portugal, California, and New York

Cape Cod trip group photo
More than 70 travelers stop for a picture during the sold-out Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program trip to Cape Cod and the Islands in August, which include guided tours and visits to Boston, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The program will host a free showcase Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Tucker Hall on campus to highlight new tours planned for 2018, including Australia, Portugal, California and New York.

BAYTOWN, TX — For first-time participants Barbie and Gerry Plocheck, the allure of taking a trip with the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program was simple: all the arrangements for transportation, accommodations and activities would be made for them — they needed only to pack their bags, board a charter bus in Baytown and head off on their August adventure to Cape Cod and the Islands.

Senior adults can learn more about following in the footsteps of the Plochecks and dozens of other happy travelers at the 2018 Travel Showcase set for 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Tucker Hall on the Lee College campus. Program Manager Lynne Foley and representatives from Collette Vacations and Premier World Discovery will detail all the trips planned for next year, including Australia, New Zealand and the Fiji Islands; Portugal, the Estoril Coast, Alentejo and Algarve; the Pacific Northwest and California; and New York City and the Hudson Valley. Refreshments will be served.

“We’ve traveled a lot on our own but we’d never traveled on a completely guided and arranged group trip,” said Barbie Plocheck, who especially enjoyed the walking tour of Boston’s historic sites, spending time on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and having the chance to get acquainted with new friends. She and her husband are already thinking about joining the upcoming trip to Australia, a destination on their bucket list.

“It’s much easier; you don’t have to make any decisions, and there is always someone there to call on if you need something,” she said. “They choose outstanding places, and we saw all the highlights we would have wanted to see had we planned it all on our own. It was perfect.”

Though DeAnne Duvall and her husband, Les, have been retired for 5 years and taken trips together with the Senior Adult & Travel Program, she thought the Cape Cod tour would be a great time to reconnect with her girlfriends. Like her, many of the people she met had previously traveled with Lee College and were eager to do it again.

“Everybody was extremely positive and fun. They want to travel and have someone else do all the legwork,” said Duvall, a former teacher who appreciated how Foley and the tour guides made everyone feel safe, comfortable and welcome. “I loved that all we had to do was get on the bus and go. They made sure we were all taken care of, and there were no worries about booking an airline ticket, finding places to park, making hotel reservations or anything like that. We’ve had nothing but positive experiences.”

For more information about the 2018 Travel Showcase or getting involved with the Lee College Senior Adult and Travel Program, contact Foley at 281.425.6311 or lfoley@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee students experience ancient, modern China for Study Abroad 2017

Lee College Study Abroad 2017 in China: Group photo
Lee College students and faculty explored historical and cultural sites in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai this summer on the Study Abroad trip to China. The Study Abroad program provides students the opportunity to travel to another country while also earning credit for their Lee College degrees. From left: Instructor Sunny Jiang Schultz, Abigail Vernier, Cameron Lieck, Lucas McCrary, Saige Willingham, Emily Blumentritt, Shianne Willingham, Camila Acuna, instructor Chris Whitaker, Kayla Medina, Justin Mathews, and Jazmine Rodriguez.

BAYTOWN, TX — Lee College Study Abroad students spent nine days in China this summer exploring the ancient and modern sides of the world’s most populous country at historic and cultural sites in Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai — and all while earning valuable academic credits in the process.

“I could make it through all my degrees and never leave Texas, but I wouldn’t be very cultured,” said Justin Mathews, one of six Study Abroad students who received a scholarship to help fund the trip and shared lessons learned with the campus community in mid-June after the group’s return to Baytown.

While discussing American and Chinese attitudes toward each other over 250 years of shared interaction, Mathews noted that many of the Chinese people he encountered there — particularly children and youth — were eager to approach the students for photos and conversation.

“I couldn’t communicate very well, but I still built bonds,” he said. “Our generation has been raised in an era of globalization with technology and social media; we’ve opened up. People are breaking down walls through acts of friendship and kindness.”

Study Abroad provides students the opportunity to explore another country while also earning credit for their Lee College degrees. The program was revived at the college in summer 2015 with a trip to Great Britain, Ireland and Wales. Since then, Study Abroad students have also traveled to Belize, China and Costa Rica; Germany is the next destination slated for summer 2018.

Before traveling abroad, students enrolled in specially designed English, humanities and history courses taught by instructors Sunny Jiang Schultz and Chris Whitaker, who also accompanied them to China. The courses helped prepare the students for all they would see and experience on the trip, which included visits to the Forbidden City; Tienanmen Square; the Great Wall of China; the Shaanxi Provincial Museum; and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Students also visited a local school in Beijing, took in Tang Dynasty and acrobatics shows, participated in a tea ceremony and dined on Peking Duck and other Chinese cuisine.

When they got back to campus, students delivered presentations on a variety of topics to illustrate how much they learned — from traditional Chinese medicine and common food choices, to Chinese treatment of natives and minorities, Chinese voyages of exploration and the differences between ancient Greek and Chinese philosophy.

“The trip was really great, but the people I went with were amazing,” Schultz said. “I saw Lee College students’ strength as they pursued their dreams, took initiative, persevered, had fun and enjoyed. It was a very rewarding experience.”

For more information about Study Abroad at Lee College, contact Nader Naderi, chairman of International Education, at nnaderi@lee.edu.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 15 school systems. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Senior Adult & Travel Program to showcase new 2017 tours

Free event on Oct. 18 will detail trips to Switzerland, Italy, Cape Cod, New Mexico & more

BAYTOWN, TX – After whisking travelers away this year to Cuba, France, the Canadian Rockies and the Grand Canyon, the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program invites the community to learn more about its next round of tours: excursions to Switzerland, Italy, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Cape Cod and its Islands, and Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Cuba trip in 2016
The Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program whisked participants away on an unforgettable tour of Cuba in 2016 that included visits to Old Havana and cultural sites throughout the country. A free showcase of the tours planned for 2017 is set for Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Tucker Hall on the Lee College campus.

The Travel Showcase of 2017 Tours will be held 5-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, in Tucker Hall on the Lee College campus. Program Manager Lynne Foley and Collette Tours will provide in-depth presentations on each trip, including a review of daily itineraries and information about costs and registration. Admission is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

For 28 years, the extended travel offered through the Senior Adult & Travel Program have provided more than 1,500 adults with the opportunity to journey to different regions around the globe — from the United States and Mexico to England, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, China, Australia and more.

“Group touring is a way for adults of any age to experience with enthusiasm the wonders of the world,” Foley said. “We do the planning and execution of details,  and you can be comfortably and safely escorted by myself and our trusted travel vendor managers to a destination of your dreams.  We encourage you to stretch your imagination and join us one of our many yearly adventures as you explore the world with Lee College and new friends.”

On the 10-day Alpine Lakes & Scenic Trains tour set for May, travelers will experience Switzerland and Lake Como, Italy, complete with wine tastings; an island dinner; rides on the Golden Pass, Glacier Express and Bernina Pass trains; a cruise on Lago Maggiore and the Lake Como Ferry; and visits to Lucerne, Zermatt, Mt. Matterhorn and St. Moritz.

Travelers on the seven-day National Parks & Wild West tour in June will explore Yellowstone and Grand Teton, Old Faithful geyser, Salt Lake City, Park City, the Olympic Village and the National Museum of Wildlife Art. They will also enjoy a recital of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a cruise on Jenny Lake and an authentic chuck wagon dinner.

The tour of Cape Cod & The Islands in August will take travelers to Nantucket and its Whaling Museum, Hyannis Port, Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Plymouth Rock and Newport, R.I.

In October, travelers will embark on the seven-day Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta tour, featuring sunrise and midnight balloon launches; an adventure drive along Route 66; a culinary class and dinner at the Santa Fe School of Cooking; and visits to the Museum of Nuclear Science and History, Old Town Albuquerque, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and Turquoise Trail.

Online registration for the 2017 tours will open at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19. Travelers can register in person beginning at 7:30 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 909 Decker Drive in Baytown.

For more information about the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program and the upcoming Travel Showcase of 2017 Tours, contact the center at 281.425.6311 or visit www.lee.edu/workforce.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite education center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Study Abroad students find growth, inspiration on journey to Belize

Program will take students and faculty to China and Costa Rica for Summer 2017

Lee College Study Abroad in Belize
Lee College Study Abroad students and faculty prepare to zip-line through the rainforest during their eight-day trip this summer to the Central American nation of Belize. The program, which allows students to experience another country while also earning credit for their Lee College degree, will host trips to China and Costa Rica in 2017.

BAYTOWN, TX — After a long and challenging climb to the top of the Xunantunich ruins during the Lee College Study Abroad trip to Belize, Miranda Sprinkle looked down at the earth 130 feet below and felt her eyes well up with tears.

From the peak of the ancient Mayan ruins and archaeological site — one of several spots explored by Study Abroad students and instructors during their 8-day stay in the Central American nation — visitors are treated to a staggering view of the Guatemala-Belize border and the lush jungles that surround.

“I was overcome by the fact that I was so small and able to see something so big,” Sprinkle shared upon the group’s return to campus on May 31. “Yet even though we are all incredibly small in this world, look what we can build. It was an honor to be able to go on this Study Abroad journey; I grew in a way I might not have if I had stayed in America.”

Study Abroad allows students to experience another country while also earning academic credit for their Lee College degrees. The program was revived at the college in summer 2015 with a trip to Great Britain, Ireland and Wales. Two travel destinations are planned for summer 2017: China and Costa Rica.

Before leaving for Belize, Study Abroad students had to complete intensive English and kinesiology classes that provided a theoretical foundation for their journey, and prepared them physically for the activities they completed. The English course centered on the unique relationship between place and identity, and eco-composition — a way of examining writing and literacy by using concepts from ecology.

In presentations to the campus community about what they saw and felt in Belize, students spoke often about how the journey helped them to grow as scholars and individuals. Many returned to Texas with a changed perspective on life and their goals for the future — inspired by the beauty of the land and sea, the excitement of discovering new and unknown places, and the warmth of the Belizean people.

“I learned so much about other people and loved hearing their stories. Even in a small country, people have really big dreams,” said Cynthia Pizana, who tried to make personal connections with as many Belizeans as possible while she was there. “We had the chance to actually go outside of our own country. You can’t get that experience from a textbook.”

As one of two faculty members who traveled to Belize, Honors Program Coordinator Georgeann Ward was impressed by the students’ depth of knowledge and determination to soak up everything the country had to offer. Graeme Cox, chairman of the Kinesiology and Wellness Division, also accompanied the students abroad.

“This trip was a complete success,” Ward said. “I was amazed every day by the bravery and curiosity of our students. They showed how powerful education can be when it encourages students to understand themselves and their relationship to the world around them.”

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Lee College Study Abroad program explores Belize

Students and faculty return to campus May 23, will share insights from trip on May 31

BAYTOWN, TX — The Lee College Study Abroad program headed off this week to the Central American country of Belize for an eight-day exploration of Mayan ruins, the natural beauty of land and sea, and the unique relationship between place and identity.

Study Abroad group photo

Students and faculty in the Lee College Study Abroad program headed off Monday, May 16, on an eight-day trip to Belize. Study Abroad allows students to travel internationally while earning academic credit toward their Lee College degree.

Study Abroad allows students to experience another country while also earning academic credit for their Lee College degrees. Students and faculty left for Belize on May 16 and will return to campus on May 23. The program was revived at the college last year with a trip to Great Britain, Ireland, and Wales.

As part of their participation, Study Abroad students had to complete intensive English and kinesiology classes that began weeks before their departure and provided a theoretical foundation for their journey. They must also share impressions from their trip with the community upon their return.

This year’s Study Abroad English course included readings of “Writing Takes Place” by Sidney I. Dobrin and important works of Belizean literature that covered the country’s history, folklore, myths, art and cuisine. Students will present their insights from Belize to the community on May 31 — and have already shared their work with the public at the invitation of the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium Academic Symposium, which carried the theme, “Time and Place as Context.”

“The concepts of ‘placed-based’ education and eco-composition will guide our exploration,” said Georgeann Ward, coordinator of the Lee College Honors Program and instructor of the Study Abroad ENGL 2341 class.

Graeme Cox, chairman of the Kinesiology and Wellness Division, taught the Study Abroad KINE 1164 class and is also accompanying the students to Belize. The kinesiology course prepared students for activities they will participate in during their trip.

“Students improved their fitness levels, made positive changes to their diets and feel physically prepared for our adventures,” Cox said.

Both instructors hope that through their travels, Study Abroad students will learn as much about themselves and their own relationship to place as they do about the wonders of a foreign country.

“Intellectually curious, hard-working, and courageous, our students show how powerful education can be when it encourages students to understand themselves and their relationship to the world around them,” Ward said.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby South Liberty County, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 14 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Space available for last bus trips of the season

BAYTOWN, TX – There’s still time to join the Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program for bus trips this month to two special theatre productions: the “Bridges of Madison County” under the stars in downtown Houston, and “Barefoot in the Park” at the intimate A.D. Players Theater in River Oaks.

“The Bridges of Madison Country” trip is set for Tuesday, Jan. 19. Participants will leave Baytown at 4:45 p.m. and travel into downtown Houston for dinner before the show, a Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of one of the most romantic stories ever written. The fee for the trip is $45, which includes tickets and transportation.

The “Barefoot in the Park” trip is set for Thursday, Jan. 28. Travelers will board the bus in Baytown at 4:30 p.m. and enjoy dinner in the Galleria area before the show, written by Neil Simon and performed by one of the largest resident theater companies in the city. The $36 trip fee includes tickets and transportation.

Registration for bus trips is ongoing; seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis with a waiting list in case of cancellations. To sign up, call the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 281.425.6311 or visit in person at 909 Decker Drive in Baytown.

Lee College offers more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as non-credit workforce and community education courses, that prepare its diverse student body for advanced higher education; successful entry into the workforce; and a variety of in-demand careers. With the main campus and McNair Center located in Baytown, Texas, and a satellite center in nearby Liberty, the college serves a geographic area of more than 220,000 residents that includes 13 independent school districts. To learn more, visit www.lee.edu.

Senior bus trips planned through Jan.

The Lee College Senior Adult & Travel Program will host nearly a dozen bus trips and special events through January for adults with a spirit of adventure and the desire to make new friends — including daylong excursions to destinations of interest throughout Baytown and Houston.

Registration for bus trips, classes and events is ongoing; seats are filled on a first-come, first-served basis with a waiting list in case of cancellations. To sign up, call the Center for Workforce and Community Development at 281.425.6311 or visit in person at 909 Decker Drive in Baytown.

Program Manager Lynne Foley will also host a showcase of the 2016 tours to the Grand Canyon, Canadian Rockies, Cuba and France from 5-8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, at 909 Decker Drive. For more information, visit www.lee.edu/workforce and see the FOCUS Newsletter.

Upcoming bus trips and events include:

  • International Quilt Festival and Downtown Houston Tunnels Thursday, Oct. 29
    Dress comfortably for a full morning of strolling through exhibits at the festival, followed by a jaunt to the Houston Tunnel system for a unique lunch under the city streets. Fee: $17.
  • Senior Night at Lee College Volleyball Thursday, Oct. 29
    Enjoy a light dinner before cheering on the Lady Rebel Volleyball Team at their last home game of the season. No fee.
  • AARP Driver Safety Class Tuesday, Nov. 3
    This popular class satisfies all state insurance requirements for a discount but cannot be used for a traffic violation. Checks and money orders must be made out to AARP: $15 for members, and $20 for non-members.
  • Wetlands Center Class and Baytown Nature Center Tour Wednesday, Nov. 4
    View the exhibits at the Eddie Gray Wetlands Center in Baytown – including live alligators – and have lunch in the Baytown Nature Center Pavilion before a guided tour. Fee: $12 for lunch only.
  • Veterans Day Celebration & Fourth Anniversary of the LC Veterans Center Tuesday, Nov. 10
    Join the Lee College Veterans Center for a celebration of its fourth anniversary that will honor all military service members, past and present. Refreshments will be served. No fee.
  • Afternoon Tour and Tasting at Budweiser Distributing Wednesday, Nov. 11
    Take an informational tour of Wismer Distributing in Baytown and relax in the facility’s community room with complimentary beer tastings and snacks. No fee.
  • Red Hat Scarlett Ya Yas Christmas High Tea and Style Show Tuesday, Dec. 1
    Dress-up attire is expected for this afternoon of sandwiches, sweets and tea in the Phyllis Davis Room at 909 Decker Drive. No fee.
  • Christmas Mystery Trip – Wednesday, Dec. 2
    The only clues you get for this trip are to dress comfortably and wear a sweater. Fee: $35, which includes a tour, transportation, lunch and a surprise or two.
  • “History in Your Own Backyard” with John Britt: Galveston Island Friday, Jan. 8
    The island adventure will begin with a tour of the newly opened Bryan Museum, followed by lunch on your own and a private tour of the famed Rosenburg Library. Fee: $25.
  • Theatre Under the Stars: “The Bridges of Madison County” Tuesday, Jan. 19
    Catch the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation of one of the most romantic stories ever written, plus dinner in downtown Houston before the show. Fee: $45, which includes tickets and transportation only.
  • A.D. Production of “Barefoot in the Park” — Thursday, Jan. 28
    Watch Neil Simon’s most successful romantic comedy as performed by one of the largest resident theater companies in the city, with dinner in the Galleria area before the show. Fee: $36, which includes tickets and transportation only.