KHS Students return from eye-opening East Coast excursion


The Kohala group poses on a cold day at the White House.

Jenna Nickl, Editor-in-chief

After spending 9 action packed days in Washington DC, Gettysburg, Philadelphia and New York City, seniors Tristan Francisco, Kira Ledward and Jenna Nickl, sophomore Jocelynn Campollo and chaperone Brian Alejandro returned back to the islands with loads of new information and memories. Looking back though, this Smithsonian tour almost failed to launch when two chaperones dropped due to personal reasons and two other students dropped for more dyer commitments. Luckily, Brian Alejandro stepped up just weeks before the departure and he felt that by the end of the trip he had made the right decision. “I would definitely like to go on one of these trips with other students again,” stated Alejandro on the plane ride home.

The four students, who were joined by roughly 45 other students from California as well as a professional tour guide and coach driver, also found the trip very eye-opening and worthwhile. Despite experiencing slight jet lag on the first couple days, Francisco found that his favorite place on the trip was Washington DC and Gettysburg. “I liked that DC felt safer and cleaner and I enjoyed the small town feel in Gettysburg,” he said. A total of three days were spent in DC and Virginia where the travelers visited 5 of the Smithsonian museums, Arlington Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the White House, the Capitol and a variety of memorials like Lincoln, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Jefferson and Washington Monument. At all of the stops, tour guide Russell Snow would educate the students and chaperones about history and trivia about the stop. Many students found themselves learning more on the brief stops than in a week in a history class. On the afternoon of day three, the group packed up and drove up the East Coast to the famous south Pennsylvanian town of Gettysburg.

A lot of students liked the small town feel of Gettysburg and enjoyed the storytelling of the war era. Gettysburg was the shortest stop of the trip before heading off to Philadelphia. The highlights in Philly included touring Independence Hall, seeing the Liberty Bell, the National Constitution Center and the Ben Franklin Science Institute. The group was staying in New Jersey overnight and left the next morning for the Big Apple. A three hour drive later, the entourage found themselves in the heart of the most populous city in the United States. The stay in New York City was brief but managed to cover visits to the top of the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Broadway, Wall Street, Times Square, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, 5th Avenue, 9-11 site, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “New York was the most exciting for me because I’ve seen so many things in the media here.” The group parted from their new California friends and returned home on March 22nd with a suitcase full of souvenirs and tons of new memories.