By the HLWW National Honor Society
The halls of Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Schools may have been empty over spring break, but 11 lucky National Honor Society students were given a very unique and enjoyable learning experience during the last week of March. These students traveled to Hawaii and learned about American history, marine life, economics and Polynesian culture.
The eight day excursion began Wednesday, March 18, when two juniors and nine seniors, along with two chaperones boarded a Northwest flight to Honolulu. Almost immediately upon arrival the travelers were greeted with the traditional Hawaiian lei ceremony. Students received fragrant strands of fresh plumeria, giving the group their first dose of Hawaiian culture.
The evening provided another first for the group as they had an opportunity to bargain down souvenior prices at the international market. This collection of vendors reaches one-half mile in its width and breath.
The Kodak Hula Show and University Marine were sights scheduled for the first full day in Hawaii.
The Kodak Hula Show is designed to teach and entertain viewers on Hawaii's native dance. The show has been a tourist favorite since before the state joined the union. When given a chance the students were eager to show off their hulaing abilities which improved throughout the vacation.
The third day the group boarded a bus and toured the entire island of Oahu. The first stop was Diamond Head State Monument, a well-known dormant volcano. The group hiked almost a mile up the mountain and were rewarded with a spectacular view. After climbing 542 stairs in 80° heat, the consensus was that it was well, worth it.
The remainder of the day was filled with scenic overlooks, sites of movie and TV sets, and wading trips into the ocean.
The last stop was the Dole Pineapple Plantation, where students were given an opportunity to see how pineapples are grown and cultivated for everyday use.
When asked to name their most enjoyable experience on the trip, snorkeling was the first one answer. Hanauma Bay and its coral reef allowed glimpses of eels, sea turtles, and Hawaii's state fish, humuhumunukunnukuapuaa, among others.
The day concluded at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Sundays in Honolulu feature a large flea market at the Pro Bowl Stadium allowing for serious shopping. Honolulu's Hard Rock Cafe was the evening destination.
The following morning was spent at the Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial which proved to be a very sobering experience. A very quiet, subdued group were reminded of the over 1,000 military men and women who died.
The Polynesian Culture Center is designed as a theme park to teach the public about the various cultures on the islands of the South Pacific. Programs included the importance of the coconut to a New Zealand stick game. The day ended with a genuine Hawaiian luau providing a sampling of Hawaiian food and music.
The final day was spent like the first, relaxing on the beach soaking up the sun and then watching it disappear behind the horizon.
The group also displayed their perfected hula skills in the hotel lounge and joined a band on stage to sing "The Hukilau," for the audience.