WAIKIKI, Hawaii - The third annual Hopi2Hawaii trip once again provided students from Hopi High School the opportunity to show people from all around the world what Hopi is all about. With temperatures ranging in the upper 70s, it was a perfect sunshiny day for a parade in downtown Waikiki.
Hawaii, known for attracting tourists from around the world, was treated to a first class marching group with the 12 students that represented the Hopi High School and chaperones dressed in their native apparel.
The trip touring began after arriving on Thursday and lodging at the secluded Tripler Army Medical Family Housing Facility only 10 minutes from the Honolulu Airport Terminal. Transportation was provided by the U.S. Army Transportation Department with a bus and truck for baggage.
During the first part of the trip, an entire day was spent at the Polynesian Cultural Center, Hawaii's favorite visitor attraction. A tour began at noon and ended at 10 p.m. with a night show.
The cadets also visited Pearl Harbor, which was a day to bring chill bumps - not because it was chilly, but because of the Pearl Harbor Ceremony where the cadets dedicated a wreath and recited the Pledge of Allegiance in Hopi, which took those in attendance by surprise.
After identifying one particular name on the memorial - a Hopi - the cadets sprinkled biodegradable flowers and headed back to the shuttle ferry to return to shore. Later in the evening, five cadets posted the colors at a gala event honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Waikiki. The cadets performed with great discipline and honor.
The next day included an all day cultural exchange with our sister organization from Wainae High School located on the west side of the island. They had activities and provided a picnic luau style where the Hopi women cooked traditional fry bread, which the Hawaiian kids could not get enough of in one setting.
On Monday, Martin Luther King Day, it was parade day. The three mile trek was difficult if you have to march, shout, and do movements along the way, but for the cadets, was a piece of cake. After arriving at the end of the parade, the cadets changed into their Native wear for the traditional dance which they practiced for weeks. While only 10 cadets danced the Corn Boy Dance, it still was remarkable to the many onlookers gathered in the park.
On Inauguration Day, the cadets watched history take place in the lobby of the hotel.
While waiting for the bus, the excitement of those watching was different because all Hawaiians took great pride in seeing their Native son being sworn in.
The cadets also went to Diamond Head Crater where they took pictures and hiked to the top and back. Next the tour bus took what is known as the Circle Island tour where they go around the entire island and stop at various points of interest. That lasted until 5 p.m. Another fulfilled day when they returned to the hotel.
The last day was reserved for shopping. It was difficult to save your money for the last day, but if you wanted bargains, which all shoppers do, this was the time and place to do it. It was the largest Swap Meet on the island and the cadets had four hours to spend.
The cadets eventually made it back to Hopiland. They definitely had a memorable time and will always remember the special times spent. Our fundraising for next year begins now as the dates selected for the top 30 will be Jan. 14-21, 2010.