TICONDEROGA-A month after hosting a group of Ticonderoga students in Hawaii, a contingent from a Honolulu middle school has visited the North Country.
Students from Dole Middle School were in Ticonderoga March 16 and 17 before visiting Willsboro March 18 and Lake Placid March 19. The trip, like the Ticonderoga visit to Hawaii, is through the College For Every Student program.
Bruce Tubbs, Ticonderoga Middle School principal, said his students were looking forward to returning the hospitality shown them during their visit to Hawaii in February. That's when students Rachel Bennett, Kolby Bradford, Claire Burns, Lillith Ida and Dale Quesnel visited Dole Middle School and other sites with teacher Heather York and Tubbs.
"We had an amazing experience in Hawaii with visits to two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school, plus three college visits including a CFES Hawaiian School Cultural Immersion Day at Chaminade," Tubbs said. "Our trip also included a visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, we watched the Hawaii state boys soccer championship, visited the Dole Plantation and the kids were able to do some surf fishing and caught fresh fish for dinner. We saw Chinatown's open air markets and took a drive by Waikiki Beach. One of our visits to Pu'ohala Elementary School included a visit to their local fish pond where they are working on restoring so the cycle of sustainability could continue by growing fish.
"The college connection element of our trip was excellent as we were staying on UH (University of Hawaii) Manoa campus, visited Chaminade and Windward Community College," he added. "This included campus tours, visiting classrooms and talking to professors. The students were very impressed with it all."
Ticonderoga's Hawaiian adventure was been six years in the making, Tubbs explained. That's when a group of Hawaiian educators attended a CFES conference in Bolton Landing and developed a relationship with their Ticonderoga counterparts.
"We thought it would be great if our kids could communicate," Tubbs said. "So, we started a pen pal program."
Then, three years ago, students from Sanford Middle School and Castle High School in suburban Honolulu attended the annual CFES conference, making a side trip to Ticonderoga to meet their pen pals.
Soon students from Ti and Hawaii were instant messaging and eventually started video conferencing. The next step became obvious; Ti students would make the trip to visit their friends in Hawaii.
The $6,000 trip was funded through CFES and student fundraising activities, Tubbs said. That meant only five of the 35 students in Ticonderoga's eighth grade could make the trip, so Ti school officials decided to hold an essay contest to select the lucky students.
Ticonderoga Middle School is the first mainland school in CFES to make the Hawaii trip.
While visiting Ticonderoga, Hawaii students got a look at American history. They visited Fort Ticonderoga and other local museums March 16. That night the school hosted a reception for the visitors at 5:30 p.m.
The Hawaiian students were joined by Ti Middle School eighth graders March 17 for a tour of Castleton State (Vt.) , as part of the CFES Pathways to College program. After returning to Ticonderoga, the students toured the local International Paper Co. mill.
On March 18 the Hawaiian group visit ed Willsboro Central School and saw Ausable Chasm. That night they were the guests at an Adirondack CFESdinner in Essex.
The visit concluded March 19 with a visit to Lake Placid and a tour of Olympic venues.
College For Every Student is a non-profit organization committed to raising the academic aspirations and performance of under-served youth so that they can prepare for, gain access to and succeed in college.