Aloha Pawprint

Written by Cedar Hittle|
Photographs by Cedar Hittle|

On April 3rd, 2017, I embarked on a long journey many hours and miles across the country and over the Pacific to the far away lands of Hawaii. My destination was the Hawaiian island of O’ahu. Since it was my first time visiting Hawaii, it was important to plan my trip beforehand. For this, I relied upon my mother who lived on O’ahu for four years as a teenager. Luckily, we would be traveling together along with my younger sister. My mother’s knowledge of the locations and activities available in Hawaii were invaluable throughout the trip.

Within my first week on O’ahu, I had the opportunity to visit several amazing locations where I documented my activities and learned more about Hawaiian culture and history.

Our first day there was fairly mundane. We arrived at Honolulu Intl. Airport, tired after a long flight, and picked up a rental car to get us to the vacation house. The 2017 Chevrolet Convertible Camaro that I picked out is pictured below. Once we arrived at the house, we were too tired to do much of anything

On our second day, I visited Mililani, Hawaii, the city where my mother attended high school when she was a teenager, and I was intrigued by the diversity that I saw there. I was able to interview two students on their experience at Mililani High School, and the accounts they gave me were surprising. They hold a lower value for the location of their school as it is simply normal for them to be living in Hawaii. This is the only thing that I was not expecting when I visited. Almost everything else was nearly exactly how I envisioned it before arriving.

When I did interview the students, many of them were unwilling to talk to me. One of them even put his arm around my neck and led me over to a concrete wall. I was a little bit worried at the time, but it turned out okay as he was mostly joking around. I eventually found a few students that were willing to answer some of my questions. What they had to say about their school experience was shocking.

I met with Mililani High School sophomores Jonah and Ryan, pictured below, outside of a local Burger King where they were studying after school. They were happy to answer my questions.

CH How has your high school experience been in Hawaii? Do you ever stop and admire the beauty around you for what it is?

R No, it’s not really something I think about because it’s sort of normal you know?

CH Have you ever been to the mainland and what are your thoughts on the world outside of Hawaii?

R Yeah, I visited New York a few years ago, and it was really different. Very interesting.

CH How many people would you say you know at Mililani High? Do you know the names of everyone in your grade?

J I know a lot of people, but um, there are just way too many to know who every person is. I also know the kids who are in my classes no matter what grade they are.

CH What time do you guys get out of school on an average day?

J We get out at like 2:45 every day and start at 8:15 in the morning.

CH Are all school days the same or do you have a varied schedule?

J School ends each day like normal except on Wednesdays we get out at 12:45 instead of 2:45 so we get the afternoon to do whatever.

Above is one more photo that I took at Mililani High. After my interview with Jonah and Ryan, I ran into a group of kids near the school parking lot. They were not willing to speak with me, but they elected their friend Jeremiah to take a photo with my at my request. He was reluctant but agreed to be in a selfie with me.

While I was in Hawaii, I had the opportunity to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum on Ford Island. It was here that I gathered most of my photos from the trip using my GoPro camera to get wide shots.

Inside of the Pacific Aviation Museum, there is a variety of WWII aircraft for visitors to inspect. I spent most of my time photographing the outdoor exhibit that was under construction and available for increased viewing. The best part of the Pacific Aviation Museum, in my opinion, was the gift shop. There were a lot of cool items to look at, and I was able to buy a nice souvenir from my trip for just 8 dollars.

At the Pearl Harbor Memorial, I got the opportunity to watch a brief film about the date December 7, 1941. My family and I were then ferried out to the floating memorial above the USS Arizona. We got to pay our respects in front of the wall of names of the men who died that day when the Japanese attacked the harbor.

I learned a lot on my trip, and it was nice to connect my own life to the lives of high school students in Hawaii. I’m sure I will return one day to add to my knowledge of the culture, but for now, I will be sharing my experience with others through the stories and photos that I have gathered there.

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