On Friday, March 3, the senior class of 2017 set out for a weekend filled with lots of walking, tons of activities, and unforgettable memories on the Big Island.

Upon their arrival at the Hilo airport, the group got onto tour buses and headed to Rainbow Falls for a quick photo stop before heading to Walmart to purchase drinks, snacks, souvenirs, and last minute supplies. The group was lucky to have sunny weather throughout the day as they did a lot of walking. They also visited the Volcanoes National Park to observe steam vents and sulphur banks. Although many seniors won’t admit it to their advisors, the documentary video on the Kilauea Iki Crater gave many of them the opportunity to take a much needed power nap before continuing their journey to the Thurston Lava Tube and Kilauea Iki Crater.

After checking in to the Kilauea Military Camp (KMC) for some free time and dinner, the group walked to the Jaggar Museum to view the glow and plume from the lava in the Halema`uma`u Crater lake. In Christopher Kwan’s opinion, the KMC cabins and recreational areas, and the night hike to the Jaggar Museum were some of the best parts of the trip. “KMC gave us free time to chill and relax with one another,  and the night hike had nice scenery and the weather was nice and cool,” he said. The seniors ended their day with what many said was one of the highlights of the trip—the “Talent/No Talent Show,” where seniors were invited to perform in front of the entire class.

In particular, one act stood out to Johannah Wilford. She laughingly said, “Compared to Mr. Frontiera going under Mr. Duncklee’s legs with the beach ball, the other acts in talent show were weak.” Nick Kanno said, “My favorite acts in the talent show was the Bang Bang Squad because those girls looked like they put a lot of hard work and effort into their dance, and it really paid off. Also Mr. Frontiera’s and Mr. Duncklee’s performance because it’s always good to see another side of your teachers besides just inside the classroom. The funniest performances however, was watching DJ and Tucker show off their [telepathy] and Duke’s interpretive dance performance.”

Kwan, who performed in a group called the “Shooting Stars,” added, “Being able to see what you coordinated come to light while bringing joy and laughter to my class was the best part about being in the talent show. Not only our act was good, but Tucker & DJ, Duke, and Mr. Duncklee & Mr. Frontiera. We could all go pro.”

I got to see my classmates in activities that we don’t normally do. We were all out of our comfort zones and it was really refreshing & fun.

Class social chair Nui Sabas, who helped MC the talent show, said, “Micah Abe being mugged in Chris Kwan’s act was the funniest. Duke’s dance was kinda weird but brave. Tucker and DJ’s telepathy was kinda fun too.” Senior class advisor Claire Mitchell said, “I have to say my favorite part was the Bang Bang Squad’s. It was well choreographed and the rest of the class totally got into it with them which was awesome! Crowd participation makes any act better.”

The next day the group visited places like the Ka’u Coffee Mill, Big Island Candies Signature Store, and Akaka Falls State Park. To end the day, the group headed upcountry to Kahua Ranch, where they had a chance to do some country-style dancing. Many students and advisors felt that the ranch was one of, if not the best, part of the trip for various reasons. Kanno said, “The best part about senior trip was the dinner at the ranch because it was just a time for us to all bond together again. We were able to dance and just have a fun time together without having to worry about anything else. Kwan enjoyed the ranch because “it was an all you can eat, really good tasting, steak dinner.” Sabas added, “The ranch was the best because, I’ve never been that high [in altitude] before. The food was good and it was very scenic. I also especially enjoyed dancing at the end with a special someone.”

Wilford added, “I got to see my classmates in activities that we don’t normally do. We were all out of our comfort zones and it was really refreshing & fun.” From an advisor’s point of view, Mitchell thought the change of climate helped make the activity especially memorable. “We couldn’t have experienced it on Oahu so it felt like we had traveled much farther than just over to the Big Island. I loved seeing all of the seniors try their hands at line dancing, roping, and branding, and just really getting into the cowboy spirit. And I thought the food was pretty amazing at the too. What more could you want in an evening?”

As great as the trip was as a whole, there were still things the class of 2017 wish they could have avoided. For some, the boat ride was one they would not want to repeat. Kwan, who got seasick, along with many others on the lower level of the boat, said, “Throwing up on the boat ride…I lost all the coffee I drank and all the motion sickness pills I took to prevent it.” Mitchell agreed, “Having students get sick or injured was the worst part. No one can enjoy senior trip if they’re sick or injured. Plus, seeing other people throw up makes me want to throw up. I wish I had a magic wand that could have prevented people from getting seasick on the boat so they could have enjoyed the day and the time in the water with everyone.” For Sabas, the long bus rides and walks may have been the worst part of his trip. He laughingly said, “Having to pee on those long bus rides was the worst part of the trip. Luckily I’m mentally tough so I didn’t have an accident. Also we should’ve cut out some of the walking; we walked a lot.”

Vice Principal Ryan Frontiera had his own share of ups and downs on the trip. He said, “The worst part for me was when everyone insisted on the first night that we turn the heater off at our KMC cabin and it was 50 degrees in the cabin by the time we woke up. We all woke up cold and angry.”

Overall, many seniors would agree that the trip was an unforgettable one. Frontiera observed, “I loved seeing people go out of their comfort zones and be willing to try activities they wouldn’t normally do. Whether it was a night hike to see the lava, country line dancing, or rallying through some seasickness on the boat, the senior class was great, and I really had fun with them on this trip.” Mitchell added, “Our goal as advisors is to put together a senior trip that will make lasting, positive memories and be one of the highlights of your high school career, so moments that seem to achieve this goal are always the best part. There were so many great memories and funny stories—DJ and Tucker’s matching fanny packs; Caleb’s ability to sleep anywhere, anytime; Sarah line dancing in her arm cast; Tiara killing it at everything cowboy; belly flops off the boat; Mr. Duncklee and Mr. Fronteira and the beach ball; Chris Kwan’s variety show; and bus karaoke. It was definitely a trip I will remember forever. Thanks for making it so memorable seniors!”

Following the trip, the seniors returned to school for their last quarter together. Come Thursday, May 25, they will officially spend their last day at HBA as they prepare for graduation on June 1.