HONOLULU, Hawaii - After holding many fundraisers, the Hopi JROTC cadets finally reached their goal. The cadets were able to reach it by sacrificing some of their vacation time during the summer, selling at football and basketball games, hosting their Annual Lori Piestewa Invitational Meet and by hosting benefit runs, a concert and a bingo. When all the money added up, however, they were still short. With the help of the school board and a $500 dollar donation from Rainy Naha, the cadets' trip to Hawaii was still on.
On Jan. 17, the day before the 30 cadets and 10 chaperones were to leave to Hawaii, eight Colorguard members along with their coach, departed from the Hopi High School at 10 a.m. that Thursday morning for Phoenix. They posted the colors the next day for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Breakfast. Afterwards, they met up with the 22 remaining cadets that had departed from the school that morning at the airport. They checked their bags in and waited anxiously for their flight that was to depart at 4 p.m. When it was time for them to board the airplane, the cadets quickly found their seats and sat down. Six hours later, they finally reached their destination of Honolulu, Hawaii.
Once the plane landed, the cadets and chaperones walked swiftly towards baggage claim to retrieve their belongings. Once everything was sorted out, they loaded up all the baggage into a van and got on a bus. Even though it was only about 7 in the evening in Hawaii, everyone was feeling tired because Hawaii is three hours behind Arizona. When they finally checked in to Air Force Inns on Hickam Air Force Base, everyone got situated and hit the lights.
The following day, the cadets traveled to Shriners Children's Hospital where Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Leandra Calnimptewa, Cadet Command Sergeant Major Ryan Carl, and Cadet Major Percelia Batala gave toys to the hospital's staff so that they could present it to the children. Later that evening, the cadets dressed in their Class A uniforms and attended the NAACP Banquet. There, the Colorguard team presented colors and had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono and the Keynote Speaker for the evening, Helene Hale. Ms. Hale was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The next day the cadets got to spend time with the cadets from Waianae High school at the beach. The day started off with the Cadet Challenges, which included crab crawls, rappelling, water crossings, running, swimming, kayaking and conducting a rope bridge. Most of the activities were new to the Hopi cadets, but they were motivated. This was not a serious competition, but rather an activity to get Hopi and Waianae together. When the challenges were through, they ate lunch and gave out awards. Towards the end of the day, the cadets from both schools enjoyed each other's company while relaxing in the cool, ocean water. After that long and exciting day, Waianae's Senior Army Instructor, Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Don Arakaki, complimented the Hopi High cadets on how well they had done during the challenges, especially in the events that included the ocean. Hopi took first place for the Water Crossing (the first trophy ever received for a water event at Hopi High), second place for the Rope Bridge, second place for the Tug-of-War and second place for Overall events. The cadets believe that the 10 swimming lessons that were instructed by Sergeant First Class Nance really helped improve the cadets' swimming skills.
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade was the biggest event on Monday. The cadets marched three miles and fought against the warm weather while they shouted cadences and chants. The Grand Marshal of the parade, Major General Montague Winfield, the Cadet Command Commander, took a picture with the cadets before leaving because of his busy schedule. When the parade was over, the cadets quickly changed into their traditional clothes. When it was time for the cadets to represent Hopi High School, they danced their best considering they only had about less than a month to practice.
On Tuesday, the cadets hiked up Diamond Head Crater. During the hike, some cadets got tired because of the steepness of the crater. When they all reached the top however, it was all well worth it because the entire city could be seen below. Hiking back down was easier and a lot faster for the cadets than the hike up. Upon reaching the bottom of the crater, the cadets relaxed before getting ready to depart for Fort Derussy Museum. The museum was interesting to the cadets because on the walls hung pictures of brave men and women who gave their lives for the freedom of their country. A painful history hung on the walls of the museum. When the cadets absorbed all they could, they returned back to Hickam Air Force Base.
The following day was their last day of Hawaiian paradise. Before leaving, however, Alphonso Braggs, President of the NAACP gave a quick tour of the surrounding areas of the State Capitol building. He also taught some Hawaiian words to the cadets. When they returned to the building, they toured the Governor's office. Afterwards, they relaxed for a few hours then left for the airport. Although Hawaii was beautiful, many of the cadets missed their families.
This truly was an honored experience for the cadets. The trip's purpose was to exchange cultures, and to show how Hopis, Navajos, and Hawaiians are all alike. This was what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted for all people. He wanted everyone to be treated the same, despite skin color or cultures.
The Hopi High cadets would like to thank the community for all their support in helping them get to Hawaii, and are looking forward to a Hopi II Hawaii 3.