continued There sure are differences. While Ticonderoga was in the midst of snow storm when the Hawaiian contingent arrived, it was 80 degrees in Honolulu. While Ticonderoga has about 5,000 residents, Honolulu County has nearly 1 million.
“It’s cold and it’s small,” said Sadie Theodore, a Hawaiian seventh grader. “But I like it here. Everyone’s nice. This is a wonderful opportunity and experience.”
The Hawaiian visitors are staying with host families in Ticonderoga and are assigned “buddies” — Ti students — to shadow during the school day. While in the North Country they will visit Fort Ticonderoga, attend the Ti High Pops concert, make trips to St. Mary’s and Crown Point schools, go snowshoeing, go sledding, take part in a CFES workshop in Essex, tour Essex Farm and visit other local landmarks.
“It’s a busy week for everyone,” said Heather York, Ti’s CFES liaison. “We want them to experience as much as possible while here.”
The Hawaiian students will also play teacher, presenting programs to local students on their home state and school.
“We want people to learn about Honolulu and Hawaii,” Kauleinamoku said. “Part of our learning experience is teaching others about us.”
Kauleinamoku hopes the Ticonderoga-Dole exchange program can continue.
“We had such a wonderful experience in Ticonderoga during our first visit we decided to try and make it an every-other-year exchange,” she said. “When Ticonderoga was able to visit Hawaii the experience became even better.”
Students from the two school raise money to pay for the trips. Students who make the visits are selected through an essay contest.
Boyce said other CFES have similar exchange programs, through not with a school in Hawaii. Willsboro Central School, he noted, sends students to Wadleigh Middle School in Harlem.
“It’s all about exposing kids to as many different things and people as possible,” he said.