WILLSBORO-When they got off the bus at the Essex Inn, the five students who recently arrived from Hawaii and had spent the day at Ticonderoga High School only wanted to do one thing.
Play in the snow.
"We had snowball fights and built a snowman and everything," said Ese Segi, a student from Sanford Ballard Dole middle School in Oahu, Hawaii.
"The snow was great," said Dylan Merry.
The students, who also included Gigi Supapo, Lisabel Asuncion and Caroline Laki-Stowers, were joined by CFES Leadership coordinator Viva Inouye and teacher and CFES advisor Karlene Kauleinamoku.
"It has been an exciting, real adventure for these students," Inouye said. "They have had a lot of fun throwing the snow around. They love it. We have to work to keep them out of the snow. When we got off the bus at the school, one of the kids headed straight for it."
Along with the snow, the students also got a chance to see how a rural school operated.
"To come in here from an urban setting is great for them," Kauleinamoku said. "There are 769 students in their middle school (grades 6-8), so this is different. I can't wait to read their journals and see what they have to say about this experience."
"One of the kids said that they would love to come back here for college," Inouye said.
"Here, the students know all of the teachers and they can connect with them," Segi said. "The school is smaller, and I like that because it is more closer and not in two buildings."
Joining the students in Willsboro were fellow students Dakoda Latford, Jon Christian, Laura Klein, Alissa Clark and Ashlee Billings.
"For them to have this experience with a different culture opens so many eyes," Marie Blatchley, CFES advisor at Willsboro, said. "At the end of every exchange that these kids are able to have, they realize that no matter where you are from, they are all just kids looking for the same things."