Close-up trip opens students’ eyes

Peiru Lu, reporter

While other students were cruising the malls or hanging out at the beaches during spring break, 15 McKinley High School students expanded their minds on a trip to our nation’s capital.
David Blanchard, social studies teacher for Academy of Finance/Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, said the main purpose of the trip was “to go to the mainland, and see the national capital, and how the laws are made.”
He said that the students met a lot of important people in Washington, D.C. along with learning about U.S. history.
Sophomore Anthony Ababa said, “It’s a total opposite from Hawaii. Instead of mongoose running, you see squirrels. Instead of tropical weather, Washington, D.C. cold with strong winds as if you’re in the Costco freezer.”
The Close-up Program is an educational trip for high school students. It’s our school first time to do it after at least 10 years. Our school used to do it once in two year. MHS students went there along with many other high school students from the mainland.
Both juniors Nikki Miller and Lana Pascua said they had a great time in exploring our nation’s capital.
Miller said, “I joined (the trip) because I never went to Washington, D.C. before. And I thought that it’s kind of interesting to see all the monuments and the statues. Everything in person is better than seeing it on TV. “
Pascua said that they visited the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, etc. She also said that she got to know different people from other states such as Nebraska, Texas, Massachusetts, California, and Iowa.
Pascua said she learned more knowledge about what the government does and the different issues that may involves in her near future. Students learned about politics and government, what happened in American history and how important it is for them to learn the bloody lessons of wars from history.
Ababa said, “We got up-close to government, visited the capital building and a lot of memorials. We met the king and queen of Hawaii. They showed us the actual flag that was brought down on the day of the annexation. It was never cut up and distributed.”
Junior Dennisa Manuel said, “(What) I could not forget is that if you become active in the government, letting your thoughts speak, you could be the person to make the world better.”
Junior Qiu Yan (Miki) Liang said, “I learned to express my opinions and get more involved in the community.”
The cost of the trip is about $2,700, but students that receive free meals are able to get a $500 reduction. Payment plans are available. Students can do fund raising to reduce the payment before and even after the trip.
Despite the expense, Miller said that this trip is a “once in a whole life opportunity.”