Heber Springs High School Students, teachers, and parents spent spring break on an educational trip to the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Heber Springs High School Students, teachers, and parents spent spring break on an educational trip to the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Saying goodbye to the cold weather of home the group flew into the beautiful warm weather of Honolulu, Hawaii.  The group stepped off the plane and into a garland of fresh flowers, the traditional lei greeting is the Hawaiian symbol of welcome.  Immediately, the group began a bus tour of the famous Waikiki area.  The name Waikīkī means spouting fresh water, for springs and streams that fed wetlands that once separated Waikīkī from the interior.  Spencer Turley loved the beach and pictured himself catching a wave with the Mountain landscape in the background.  The area was a retreat for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800s.  They enjoyed surfing there on early forms of longboards.  Today, the area is filled with large resort hotels and historic hotels dating back to the early 20th century. Pam Smith, Linnet Tournear, and Kathy Linder were able to make some great sunset photos from the beach.  The beach hosts many events a year, including surf competitions, out door performances, hula dancing and outrigger canoe races.  Everyone enjoyed dinning at the Hard Rock Café, Honolulu.

Touring the island the group visited the Wahiawa Botanical Garden & Kukaniloko Birth Stone.  Located high on a plateau in Central Oahu, the lush Wahiawa Botanical Garden is spread out over 27 acres and offers a look at native Hawaiian plants.  Regina Snow made many pictures of plants and trees with notes to take back to her classroom. 

Next the group toured the Polynesian Cultural Center.  Shannon Grayson was called on stage to try some fresh coconut milk.  The center was opened in 1963 as a way to provide employment and scholarships for students at BYU-Hawaii and to preserve the cultures of Polynesia.

In addition to the daytime exhibits and demonstrations, PCC features an evening show. The show is a multicultural Polynesian show titled Hā–Breath of Life.  The show features songs and dances from throughout Polynesia, including the Hula, tamure, otea, titi torea, haka, poi, meke, tauʻolunga, and Taualuga.  The group enjoyed the lively and entertaining exhibition, which included twirling fire.  Lexi Hartman, Hannah and Skylar Johnson enjoyed the music, the dancers, and the story.

The next day was a hike up Diamond Head, the name of a volcanic tuff cone on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu and known to Hawaiians as Lēʻahi, because the shape of the ridgeline resembles the shape of a tuna's dorsal fin.

The group visited the King Kamehameha statue outside the Iolani Palace.  The original statue stands prominently in front of Aliʻiolani Hale in Honolulu, Hawaii. Ms. Stroud always enjoys the art on these trips and points out the unusual artifacts. The statue had its origins in 1878 when Walter M. Gibson, a member of the Hawaiian government at the time, wanted to commemorate the 100 year arrival of Captain Cook to the Hawaiian Islands.

Taking a guided walking tour, The Queen’s Walk, the group saw King Lunalilo Mausoleum, St. Andrews Church and the Mission Houses Museum.  The historic Mission Houses chronicle the first American Protestant missionaries to arrive in Hawaii and connects them to the history and culture of the islands.

Next on the stop was the Bishop Musuem, which houses an extensive collection of native Hawaiian cultural artifacts.  Charles Reed Bishop, a philanthropist and co-founder of Kamehameha Schools and First Hawaiian Bank, built the museum in memory of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. She was the last legal heir of the Kamehameha Dynasty, which ruled the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi between 1810 and 1872.

On their last day in Hawaii the group ventured out on a whale-watching excursion.  Cole Elrod loved the ship and spotting whales. The group was able to spot several pods of whales, the water was beautiful turquoise, and the sailing was smooth.  The views of Waikiki Beach and Diamond head were gorgeous.  Perry and Kathy Linder were able to make some really great pictures from the whaling ship. 

Back on land it was a mad dash to Pearl Harbor.   Pearl Harbor is a lagoon harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, west of Honolulu. Much of the harbor and surrounding lands is a United States Navy deep-water naval base. It is also the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941 brought the United States into World War II. 

The group led by Ms. Snow, Ms. Stroud, and Explorica Student Travel was a fun fast paced trip to our nation’s 50th state.  Hannah and Skylar Johnson and Spencer Turley said they loved everything about the whole trip and hoped to return to Hawaii one day.  Everyone has a great time, learned so much about O’ahu, and look forward to spring break 2015. 

For a complete story on the field trip, along with more photos, check out the spring edition of Lake Lifestyles magazine which will be available my mid-May.