Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center's Journey to Scotland

Follow the adventures of the Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center's Journey to Scotland and the 2011 Fringe Festival.

We will post updates as we prepare on this once in a lifetime experience for cast and crew.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Dream Big: Nanakuli At The Fringe" Documentary Premieres in November

The PBS Hawaii documentary, "Dream Big: Nanakuli At The Fringe," will premiere on November 10 at 9:00 pm on PBS Hawaii.  The documentary focuses on the Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center and their journey to London, Scotland, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In August of 2011, 18 students and alumni from the Nanakuli Performing Arts Center traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. There, they discovered a world outside of filled with other high school students and professionals who share their love for performing arts. At the same time, they reinforced the strong family bonds between themselves that had already been established on the west side of Oahu. In "Dream Big: Nanakuli At The Fringe," PBS Hawaii tells the story of this journey from Nanakuli to Scotland and back...and how a small Performing Arts company shapes the lives of the students and alumni of Nanakuli Performing Arts Center.

Storyteller/director of "Dream Big: Nanakuli At The Fringe," Roy Kimura, said, "I am proud and humbled to be the writer/director of "Dream Big: Nanakuli At The Fringe." PBS Hawaii has given me an extraordinary opportunity to learn life's lessons from a group of passionate, dedicated young adults. Over 14 days, the students and alumni of Nanakuli Performing Arts Center (NPAC) represented Nanakuli, Hawaii, and the United States as they travelled in London, England, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Throughout the trip, they shared the aloha spirit with fellow high school performers, the residents of the United Kingdom, and everyone who came in contact with them. And they showed the world that Nanakuli represents pride, respect, and family."     

The Fringe Festival is the largest and most prestigious arts festival in the world. Over a thousand performing companies attend, and the whole city becomes a stage. The NPAC performed for the American High School Theatre Festival held at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  There were over 2000 high schools nominated to perform for the American High School Theatre Festival from across the country and only 62 schools selected to perform.

"We are excited to re-live our Fringe experience and to share with the state what the NPAC program means to us through the documentary," said Samuel Hedin, cast member.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thoughts from NPAC Member: Alice Lapinig-Montira

I'm homesick! I miss London and Scotland. 

I finally woke up from this dream and realize that that chapter of my life is done and that I can take the memories I created and hopefully share it with others. I'm going back to the past where I've changed within two weeks. The two weeks I've been with the Nanakuli performing arts center also known as NPAC, getting up real early, going through airports, security, customs, plane rides, bus rides and a train just to get to our destination has been nothing but busy and feeling the energy as excitement ran down my body. 

Even then when we got to our destination that the feeling of excitement had never left my soul because there was no time to waste. I had to live every moment every chance I had and just enjoy that I'm on the trip living a blessing that I never thought could happen to me. 

It's wonderful how things in life works. I could see my unrealistic dream becoming more of a reality to me each moment I spent on the journey with NPAC. The more and more time I spent with them living this dream together experiencing this opportunity we all shared had made my perspective on things change including in myself. 

One is believing that dreams do come true when you work hard for it and that anything is possible with faith. The NPAC did work hard for 14 months doing performances, fundraisers, rehearsals, and any possibilities we could think of that will help us get one step closer of being prepared for London and especially Scotland and our performance at the fringe. 

However being able to perform at the worlds largest festival have never crossed my mind that it was real until the first show we did.

Thoughts from NPAC Tour Member: Laura Manuel

Gosh has it only been a week since I was in the UK? It’s amazing how much an opportunity can either pass you by or take you places and situations you may have on dreamt about it. 

14 months ago I visited Robin Kitsu one morning before the career day at Nanakuli High School. It was there Robin informed me of the news that Nanakuli High and Intermediate Performing Arts Center (NPAC) was invited to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. All I could think about is how extremely proud and happy I was for NPAC to not only represent the community and the State of Hawaii but also the United States of America.

The months of fundraising, planning and anticipating could not even prepare any of us for what would happen on this 2 week journey. The moment we all stepped on the plane I just felt like our lives were about to change and it did. 

Once we arrived in London everything happen so fast but we embraced everything from the sightseeing, shows and workshops. We had many surprises along the way but it never held us back. We instead found other facets to get through the situation and accepted all that was brought before us. 

Once we were in Edinburgh it was sensory overload not in a bad way but an exciting way because we witnessed very diverse performing entities. It was amazing how performers would show case their production on the Royal Mile and it was then that I realized the endless possibilities not only for NPAC but for us as well.

Opportunities arises all the time is what you do with it will make you the person you can and want to be. I had a few set backs on this trip but I managed to make the most of it. I didn’t think I could hike up Arthur’s Seat but I did. I was blessed to be a part of NPAC’s Journey to Scotland. 

Thank you NPAC for allowing me to accompany you on this journey and for enabling me to be a part of the NPAC family. I’ll never forget this once in a lifetime trip and the many friends I made along the way. Yes and that includes you Roy and Glenn…thank you to for documenting the journey.

Thoughts from NPAC Member: Talitiga Ulufale

As I sit down in this heat it finally hits me and I realized that its over; the trip was over and now its back to the real world.  but as I sit back and think aboout London and Scotland and the amazing opportunity that I got to experience and I realized that this was more then just a dream come true, this was experience that went beyond any group or any one person.

I think about all the sites and history and stories and the memories and the people, I say to myself (tali you did it you went and experience and loved every second of it I didn't know how bad it was going to hit me till now realizing that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that for some one like me wasnt going to come back around and im happy that I took it when it came.

And I found out a lot aboout myself that no matter where I go as long as I'm myself people are going to like me and if needed I can take on a leadership role and that i have a great sense of direction and never get lost that it doesn't matter if your a samoan or from a bad school or bad home or bad backround that opportunities are out there and if you take them when they come around they can change your life forever like how this trip has change mines.  Cause I now know that i have this special bond with these 23 people that only we share and that only we truly understand.

I'd like to thank all the people that help us get there and all the people that came on the trip and made it an amazing trip.  I couldnt have asked for better people to share it with and I'd also like to thank Mr and your family and npac for believing in me and allowing me to be a part of this amazing experience that has touch and change my life forever.

The most amazing trip from start to the end it just kept getting better man I miss the cold...I realized that for a lot of my npac family this trip was your last time with us as you move on with your lives.   I'm sad and yet in a way I'm happy cause I know that no matter where our lives take us we will always have this trip and all our great memories and I couldn't have ask or found a better way to say goodbye to you all than with a trip of a lifetime.

Till we meet again thank you and love you all ...once npac your npac forever and we always come back.........

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thoughts from NPAC member: Nathaniel Hedin

Tuesday morning i awoke to a call from work. After fumbling around with my phone that I hadnt used for 2 weeks I finally answered and proceded to have a conversation saying that I had to come in to work the next day. After I hung up, I looked around my room and took a deep sigh of depression realizing that it was all over. I was expecting to wake up in Scotland but the journey was over and it was time to go back to my regular life. 

It was a depressing slow day but remembering what I got out of that once in a life time experience helped me pick myself up and start planning for my future. This trip was more then i could've dreamed of for the end of my journey with NPAC. I joined my 8th grade year so this was the end of a six year run for me. Throughout those six years I grew and learned things I know I couldnt have gotten anywhere else or in any other program. it built my character, work ethic, responsibility and leadership traits, social and speech skills, all the skills and more that people should have in life, but most importantly NPAC gave me a family. 

NPAC gave me somewhere that I could be myself and do what i enjoyed without being ridiculed and harassed. It was my happy place, somewhere I could get away from the long tormenting prison known as school. 

Being in NPAC has been the best thing that has happend in my life. this trip to Scotland was a life changing experience beyond compare but i could've lived without it because it was nothing compared to my experience of living my life as a part of this NPAC family for six years. To me that is the experience that kids should get. That is the experience that I wish all the students joining the program and currently in the program will get. 

This trip to Scotland helped me realize how much NPAC really meant to me and how much it could mean for the next generation. It is gonna be a slow and hard process trying to leave this program and i wish i could stay with the program forever but I'm planning to get married in less then a year and I need to go to college and get a job to support my new life.  Without NPAC and this trip to Scotland i would have no direction of what to do in my life. 

Being up in Scotland at the Fringe showed me how much I love the performing arts. i know i dont have a future as a singer or dancer but I love performing and even though my heart is off beat i got the rythm and passion for playing the drums so that is what im going to pursue in my life. 

Thank you to all our supporters for helping us get to Scotland to represent Hawaii and the United States. We could'nt have made it without your support.  Also special thanks to all the familys and students of NPAC for helping with the 50 performances in our Journey to Scotland. That was draining and hard work to do with no reward of going with us to scotland. I wish we couldve taken all of you. 

A most important and special thank you to Uncle Roy and Uncle Glenn from PBS Hawaii for going with us and documenting our trip to Scotland. We were so busy getting everything we could out of our time up there that not all of it sunk in, especially since we were all still jet lag thru the 4 days in london, so having it documented is a blessing to help us forever remember our adventures up there. It was also a blessing that we got to add 2 new members to our family and that you guys got to enjoy this journey with us in Scotland. you guys will always be a part of our family. 

Now finally the most importan person to thank.  He built this program and has kept it going as the heart and the only constant driving factor in the program, our director and father, Mr. Robin Kitsu.  Without Mr. Kitsu we would'nt have no NPAC family and no Scotland. He put in more work then anyone else to get us to Scotland and even after we got to Scotland he still had done work to suprise us up there to make our experience even more amazing. I owe Mr. my life, he has been the biggest influence and father figure in my life. There is no one I look up to more then him and there never will be. 

Shortly after I joined the program my parents got a divorce so Mr. Kitsu was the only father figure I had and I saw him more then my actual father. I always tried to do the best I could in the program to meet Kitsu's approval. I wanted to live up to his expectations of me so I could make him proud knowing that his teaching and influence changed my life. Thank you Mr. Kitsu for the greatest six years of my life, six years with NPAC.  Also a special thank you to Chloe and Michele Kitsu for supporting Mr. and being the backbone of the progam.  You guys have been so important in the success of the program and I am so grateful for the Kitsu family. 
With that finally said, I learned that dreams can come true so "dont step on them" lol ^-^ "khattam-shud"

Thoughts from NPAC member: Christian Kaeo there's a word. So much happened on this Journey to Scotland that to put it into words would be nearly impossible. First off, the airports alone were a Journey. Baggage check-in, customs, agriculture, baggage claim, yah not so bad if it’s just you, but when you're traveling with 24 other people that’s 24 pieces of luggage to check-in. Then there's the extra luggage for costumes and gifts which brought the grand total of 31 check in bags leaving and 34 coming back...Crazy!

London is an amazing and beautiful city. With its giant architectural buildings and statues it makes you feel like you're back in time. You literally see all the history that London has been through as you walk down the streets. We were only in London for 4 days so our days were booked back to back, non-stop. Each day we were touring, seeing shows, visiting people and places, and shopping. There was never a down moment in London except for when we were sleeping and even that wasn’t for too long since we would come back late and leave early. Some people thought we were crazy because we were always on the go, but if you think about how much money went into this trip and divide that up between the hours you had in a day it gave deeper meaning to “Time is Money!” and I didn’t mind because I felt like I got my moneys worth. 

It was so exciting and we were moving as fast as the city around us so it really made the experience genuine so much so that I planned on moving to London one day. My first Broadway show that I ever seen in my life was at London’s West End and it was Wicked and I got to say that’s pretty great! It was everything I thought it would be and more. But it didn’t stop there. We also got to see Blood Brothers and Jersey Boys, and met with the cast of South Pacific, which was the cherry at the top for me. That was also where I caught my first cab and let me say that that in itself was an experience. The cab rides were fast and crazy it felt like I was on a roller coaster and some drivers weren’t so friendly either but hey they got us to our destination so it was good. Got my first taste of some UK fish & chips in London and it was so golden crispy and buttery it just melted in your mouth. Some more touring spots and then we were on a train and off to Scotland.

I noticed right off the bat that next to London's vibrant and busy city, Scotland was the more peaceful country side and what can I say, once a country boy always a country boy. I immediately fell in love with the openness of it all. The fields, the trees, the farms, the lochs (lakes) were something straight out of a painting that always look so tranquil from cottages on the cliff side over looking the ocean to cabins up in the mountains surrounded by giant trees. 

Although we were moving at a slower pace than London there was still much to do in Scotland. We got to perform on the Royal Mile as well as pitch our show along side of hundreds of fellow performers. We got to visit Edinburgh and Sterling castles as well as meet Hamish, the Highland cow, and his family. We also met other performing arts groups from across the states and got to see a couple of their shows, a lot of genuinely nice and talented people. My food spot of choice while in Scotland was this little shop called Clamshell. It sold pretty much deep fried anything. I love deep fried anything! Of course we did some more shopping in Scotland and also got to see the Military Tattoo show which are military bands from around the world. The stadium is built around the entrance of the Edinburgh castle so that the castle is the back drop with lights and fireworks sitting that close to a castle, listening to the bands beautiful music was magical in itself.

Walking across bridges in London, riding in double decker buses, going to Jane Austen’s house, Winchester cathedral, Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey, Abbey Road, Trafalgar square, Piccadilly circus, watching Broadway shows at West End and catching a train at the famous Kings cross station through the wondrous pastures of London England just to arrive at Edinburgh Scotland and seeing Edinburgh castle, Sterling castle, performing at the royal mile, witnessing the Military tattoo show, and meeting Hamish, Heather, and Honey. Food, shopping, and sites to see but the one thing that stuck with me was..."I'm in Europe!"

I mean don't get me wrong all of those things were amazing to see and do and made the trip so awesome, but when I stepped back and realized where I was and all the countless people that helped to get me there, that’s when it changed my outlook on life. 

I mean here is a boy, born and raised in Waianae, working two minimum wage jobs, a striving student at the local community college, feeling like his dreams are so far away and yet he's there, in the cold and rain, with a snow jacket, scarf, earmuffs, and gloves (things you definitely can't get in Hawaii), freezing his butt off in Scotland fulfilling his dream, and if that dream could come true then why not the rest? Performing on Broadway, traveling the world, the list is endless. With hard work, the right support group, and the drive, passion, and heart needed to succeed in anything in life...anything’s possible.

The lessons learned, opportunities given, and exciting experiences is what truly made this trip...a Journey. And I thank all our supporters and the Kitsu family for that!

Thoughts from NPAC member: Richlynd Cabinatan-Higa

Sitting in class, looking at all the back work and new homework I have to catch up on made me realize how much I missed scotland and London. I looked at my AHSTF wrist band and almost cried. Being on that trip was like a dream come true. I mean, having this amazing oppourtunity that millions of other kids never and might never have is just mind blowing. To think me, just a 15 year old average high school student had the privilege to perform in Edinburgh Scotland and to represent Hawaii and the United States! 

It's been almost three years now since I've been with NPAC and I feel I've learned more in two years with them, than 9 years of school. I'm growing up. Thanks to Mr. Kitsu and NPAC family, I'm growing up the right way. Now, I have a family and an even closer bond that we all share. 

This was just an amazing expirence. Being away from home made me independant and more responsible.  No grandparents to help me do anything, I had to do things on my own. 

I'd like to thank Mr. Kitsu for all that he's done. I mean, really. Your like a father to me. It may sound cliche, but its true. My real father was never really there for me, to teach me right from wrong.  But you, Mr. Robin Kitsu . . . you have been with me...and i appriciate all that you've done.  Because of you, I am a better person.  A more prideful, responisble, social and humble person. There is no other word or things I could say that can explain my grattitude and how much this trip meant to me. All I can say was AWESOME.

Thoughts from NPAC member: Deja Ceruti

There is still a pinch of sadness within me when I look out my car window onto the beautiful scenery which is Hawaii. I can't help but miss the beautiful castles towering over my bedroom window or the sound of performers gracing the royal mile with their talent. It is still hard to believe that just a couple days ago, I was performing at the most prestigeous festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe. Now that we are back home, the memory of our journey has not ceased to linger in the back of my mind. 

I remmeber two weeks ago stepping off the plane in Heathrow, filled with an immense excitment, not only because the turbulance had driven me to air sickness, but because it had finally hit me that i was involved in something most people could only ever dream of. 

I think back on our 1st tour of london and how awestruck we were by the architecture of the buildings. The sights of chimneys had us nearly out of our seats and our tour guide in total confusion over why we were so interested. I can still feel the smile on my face and the joy inside of me when I heard the ring of Big Ben. It was an out of body experience that I knew I would cherish forever. 

Then, the screams of the cast when we had been suprised with tickets to see the musical, "Wicked". The sobs heard after the curtains closed on Blood Brothers. And the high-fives exchanged after our Jersey Boys performed their medley outside of the theatre where we saw "Jersey boys". 

In Scotland we were greeted by the melodramatic sound of bagpipes and the cold Scottish air. The hour finally came for the NPAC to meet the Royal Mile where we were struck with complete silence, absorbing all that was happening around us. I still recall saying that it was the most incredible thing i've ever seen. I felt as if id belonged to something only a lucky few could. 

I couldnt help but shed a tear after our first performance because I knew that the clock was quickly ticking down on our journey. I know I will never forget all of the awesome nicknames we came up with for the workers on campus and at the cafe store;) it had finally hit me that I was missing home after I completed my "happy dance" because we'd discovered they sold saimin. Although we had been having so much fun, a huge part of us couldnt help but miss Hawaii. 

The hour had come for us to say goodbye and, I wont lie, crying like a baby seems like an appropriate way to describe what myself and a few other cast member were doing. We had realized that all that we had worked for, this experience we shared had come to a quick end. I can speak for everyone in the cast when I say that this trip hasn't ended us, but opened up much more doors and opportunities to do so much more, not only in NPAC, but in life. 

I would like to thank every single last person who contributed to the NPAC and our journey. It is all because of you that we have had such a beautiful experience. I cannot say thank you enough for all that you have done. MAHALO! Or as they say in the UK, CHEERS!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts from NPAC director: Robin Kitsu

My thoughts go back to the final night (when we didn't sleep due to early check out time) sitting in my dorm listening to the energetic voices of students from across the country joyfully celebrating their successful shows and newfound friendships, I'm taken back almost 15 months ago when we were first notified that we were selected to perform at the American High School Theatre Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  It was a dream to get the notification and I am still in that dream.

The thought of taking a few students, much less, a group of 18, seemed like a goal that we could never reach.  But here we are, at the end of that dream and what a time it has been.  

So many memories . . .

  • Everyday we kept repeating that we couldn't believe we were in London/Scotland.
  • Thank you Michelle for blue pompom's.
  • "Count off!"  "One," "Two," "Three . . . "
  • The Great Tuesday . . . from our first breakfast to meeting Wayne Rapozo and being treated like rock stars with limo van pick up and elegant lunch and Almeida Theatre tour to meeting Loretta Ables Sayer and the cast of South Pacific . . . OMG all these Tony winners and nominees to surprising the group with tickets to Wicked.
  • Our "guys" hallway pizza party.
  • Stonehenge
  • Jersey Boys . . . London Cast and NPAC Cast
  • Performing on the Royal Mile . . . watching the group interact with people from around the world . . . they were so good.
  • Our first and last performance of Under the Influence and seeing and hearing the sobs from the audience.
  • Meeting all the wonderful people who came out to see Under . . . those from Hawaii and from Scotland.
  • Reenacting scenes from our favorite cartoons on the bus.
  • See students grow and blossom into leaders and confident young men and women.
  • The food, oh my, the food . . . deep fried anything to Kalbalbs to the duck to the lamb shank and the buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinners . . . but I was told I did lose weight.
  • The hike up Arthur's Seat . . . yes, I did it.
  • Cab rides
  • Tears at the closing ceremony . . . at final dinner . . . at Wicked surprise . . . tears of joy throughout.
  • The company of two people I have come to respect and am honored to call friends . . . Roy Kimura and Glenn Yamamoto.
  • Watching the "mojo" of Sam . . . again, you are my hero . . . ahh, to be young again.
  • Every show we were able to see and how proud I was of each student from all the other schools . . . they were all soooo good.  
  • The support from everyone and the bus rides to and from performances.
  • Being in an environment of artistic energy and appreciation.
  • Grateful to every person, business, organization over the last 15 months who donated money, spread the word, believed in us, came to our shows, and just kept the faith . . . Thank You!
  • Every moment, every minute . . . the perfect trip.
To say that I am proud would be an understatement.  This group of 18 took in everything that the UK had to offer and then some.  They never complained, supported each other, and appreciated every site and every person they came in contact with.  I want everyone to know that this group of young people exemplified the Aloha spirit as they traveled through London and Scotland. I wish I could bottle that feeling and use it here when needed.

I am also proud of their professionalism in how they prepared for the four performances of Under the Influence . . . not an easy play to perform and with the added distractions, even more difficult.  But the students kept their focus and showed everyone that NPAC has talent and passion that equals all the other schools that were here at the Fringe.

Yes, it's been hard to get back to reality, but we will.  The question is what is next? As Roy mentioned, for the last 15 months, this Journey to Scotland has consumed my life and now that it's over, what now?  Ahh, but that is the lesson now isn't it?

As I shared with the group at Heathrow Airport, the lesson from all of this is not the final destination, but the work over the last 15 months to get there.  That with hard work and passion (my mantra) and support from others, anything is possible.  They all have seen where this can take them.

For me, the challenges will never stop . . . but that is part of the fun, right?  Funding to keep the NPAC alive will be needed to continue the program past this school year.  Recruiting and keeping students in the NPAC to help sustain the program.  Choosing and producing a variety of shows that help to showcase every member.  The dream of having our own performance auditorium venue on campus not only for our use but for the whole West Side.  

After this experience, I know that all of these challenges are just goals for us to reach; and we will.  For 15 months ago, who would have thought a tiny program on the West Side of Oahu that began 20 years ago on an outdoor stage with 8 students would find themselves traveling to London/Scotland and performing in the middle of the world's largest performing arts festival.

I found out that hundreds of people believe we could and would and we did.

Thank you, thank you to everyone.

Thoughts from NPAC member: Chanel Smith

Being back home has made me realize how blessed I am to have had the oppertunity to go on this journey to Scotland. I woke up this morning half thinking that I was still in my dorm room at Pollock Halls and then I remembered I'm half a world away from the beautiful castles, cold weather, and the amazing bacon =( 

I still can't believe that I was actually in London and Scotland. I'll never forget the feeling I had when we landed in Heathrow airport. I felt so happy to finally be getting off the plane and I felt so proud that after 14 months of preparing, hustling,and performing 50 times in the school year that we actually made it!! 

I'll never forget all the beautiful things I've seen like the London Eye, Stonehenge, the castles and more but it wouldnt have been possible without the numerous people who supported us. 

When we visited Winchester Cathedral I lit a candle and thanked God for this amazing oppertunity."were like pieces on a mobile..." If it hadent been for all of the support NPAC got we would have never gotten to experience this once in a lifetime dream come true. 

A million thank you cards doesn't feel like enough to show my gratitude but I'm sure that when we tell people how others were so touched by our performance in Scotland that they will feel so proud of NPAC. We not only won the hearts of others through our performance but with our friendly personalities too...some won the hearts of other with his charm ;) 

We made friends that we probably will never see again but we still exchanged facebook information ^_^ 

I think what I've learned from this experience is that theres nothing thats impossible it might be difficult at times but once you've reached your destination all that hard work pays off.

Thoughts from NPAC member: Susan Bowyer

Whirlwind would be the only way to properly describe what the past year has been for both NPAC and myself. Never did I imagine when I first joined in 7th grade that I would get to travel halfway across the world with my favorite people to do what we love, perform. 

As I come to the end of my personal journey with NPAC I could not have wished or prayed for a better ending. I am enormously lucky to have gone on this trip and there are so many people to thank and recognize. The sites, smells, and places we have experienced are once in a lifetime memories. From historical sites like Stonehenge,Winchester Cathedral, Big Ben, Castles. To the wonders of the theatre world,we got the warmth and love of Loretta Ablyss Sayre, the talent and "beauty" of the cast of South Pacific, the generosity of Wayne Rapozo, and the amazing feeling of meeting kids from across the country who are just like us thanks to the staff of AHSTF. 

Nothing I write can fully help anyone understand just what we have been through and how amazing it was. Like Mr. always said " It's a bond, no one else will understand." Yet I hope all our writings can give you a glimpse of how much the kids from Nanakuli learned from this trip. Not only did we learn historical facts, or theatre tips I think we all learned something about ourselves.Most importantly I learned the power of generosity not just from those who donated to our trip but within NPAC. 

On this trip the little things made me realize how amazing everyone really is. The random acts of kindness from one NPAC member to another showed me why we are such a big family. Everyone helps one another from sharing gloves, to buying someone a snack and more. People's generosity is how we got to Scotland and is what we continued while we were there. 

As a group we learned once again that not everyone is like us, but to always welcome them with Aloha regardless. 

First thanks to the cast for pulling out an amazing show. With Under The Influence we proved to the world and ourselves that we are actually good and no matter what anyone says back home we can be and do something amazing being from Nanakuli or Waianae doesn't matter. What we put into this is what we got from it and don't let anyone take that away from you. 

The alumni staff thank you for all the guidance and mentorship you have given us students the past years and on this trip. Your coming back means so much to us and to me. Nikita, thank you for being my role model on stage and off you don't realize how much you have helped me through the years. Tali, Mijo, Andrew, Chelsea, Brandon, Shannon, and Nathaniel thank you for all your advice and strength. 

A HUGE thanks to the supporters of NPAC your time, energy, and money has changed our lives thank you so much. I will always remember this trip and what it did for me without you I would be a different person. 

To Roy ,Glenn, and everyone at PBS, thank you for thinking NPACs story important enough to tell. You don't realize how much it means to us. Glenn and Roy your laughter, generosity, and constant help was more than I ever expected. I never thought that NPAC would gain to new family members so quickly but we did and you will forever be apart of us. 

Lastly thanks to the Kitsu family Mr., Michelle, and Chloe. Your hard work and sacrifices have helped to change hundreds of kids lives. Everyone who has been in the program has come of better because of you all. Personally thank you Mr.Kitsu for teaching me that nothing is impossible to never give up and for just giving me place to grow. What you have taught me is irreplaceable. I am rambling now but I will leave with this. " Theatre people are the best people in the world!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thoughts from NPAC member: Nikita Mendonca

This morning I woke up in my own bed and, although I miss home and my family, I felt a tinge of disappointment. Our journey to London and Scotland was a dream come true for all of us, including myself. I have always, always wanted to visit London and Scotland and I am glad I did so with my drama family.

The trip gave me an opportunity to learn more about everyone, and in doing so I have grown fonder of everyone, including their little quirks. The trip exceeded my expectations, but more impressive, the behavior of the students exceeded my expectations. Prior to the trip, in the back of my mind I always feared that the students would not fully understand the sacrifices our community and people around the world have made in our behalf. Yet from the moment our journey started, each and every student appreciated every moment and found something special about everything, even the seemingly little things.

The entire NPAC cast made numerous friendships in the past two weeks, and made huge and positive impressions on everyone who attended the Fringe from around the world. The cast also blew audience members away with their performances of Under the Influence. If we ever doubted that the NPAC could not hold it's own against other performing arts programs world wide, than we were mistaken. The NPAC is just as good as everyone else on and off stage, and the community has every reason to be proud.

The NPAC represented Hawaii and the United States through and through.

Thoughts from NPAC Member: Chloe Sylva

During those 2 weeks when we were in London and Scotland was a unforgettable dream that never stops ending and I don't think it will ever end it will keep replaying in my head over and over again of all the sites, people, joys, and priceless memories that now one can take from me or npac. Its really hard to explain everything and I don't think anyone would ever understand the happiness and love npac shares for this trip.

Well anyway ... London couldnt be anymore wonderful then what I imagine, I wish I could stay longer :) the sites was amazing undescribable the London Eye well for me it was more beautiful when I was on the ground. lol Big ben and buckingham palace 100x more beautiful in person.

Then there was Scotland more amazing then any other even in my life. The royal mile is crazy I love watching peformers espically out of the blue terrific group, and that guy who undresses on a ladder is um..something lolz. But just crazy so much things going on at once.

My favorite thing out of the whole entire trip was being able to peform at the Fringe which is going to be a one in a life time experience for me I will carry with me forever. Just seeing everyone's reaction to our show is the best thing about performing. I could tell the stories about this trip 1000x to you but you will not understand how much this trip means to me. I LOVE London and Scotland so much it something I hope to see again in the future. I loved every minute of this trip even being jetlagged lol this trip couldn't be any better then what I imagined

Thoughts from NPAC Member: Shaylene Curtis

These past two weeks have been unforgettable. I don't even know what to say really... It was so incredible. You just can't put into words everything we did and felt.

London was absolutely beautiful. It exceed my already high expectations. It was fast paced, but I enjoyed it very much! I saw sites where they filmed scenes from Harry Potter! I bought a wand, which I carried everywhere. The London Eye was amazing! We saw and did so much in such a short amount of time.

Then, all of a sudden, we were boarding a train to Edinburgh. Edinburgh was amazing, and definitely a place I will be traveling to again. The Royal Mile is something that you really can't explain. You have to experience it. We performed a bunch there and it's so amazing getting to see peoples faces as you perform. There was a ceilidh, which was, well, a dance! We all had a blast and made lots of friends. :) Our performances had good reactions and though we had an off day, we brought it back. All of the high schools that were a part of the festival were so amazing and we really only started mingling a few hours before we had to leave. Pressure was off and it was time to have fun. I have 26... or more new friends on Facebook and it's only been a day! I MISS IT SO MUCH. I MISS EVERYONE SO MUCH. I had this unexpected crying session on the bus to the airport. I was so sad that I hadn't had the chance to talk with people before we were leaving.

Anyway, I am so happy to have been a part of this trip and see you soon, Scotland :)♥

Thoughts from NPAC Member: Samuel Hedin

I knew from the start that somehow this trip would change my life. And it did. everything was amazing from telephone booths to watching Jersey boys.

I guess I could say that the grass was greener on the other side, but that would most likely be because of all the rain :) and I really had a lot of self discovery. I made plenty of friends.

And this trip even helped me with small problems. for example: now I understand what is meant by "there are plenty of fish in the sea" I MISS IT ALL SO MUCH... In London I discovered my passion, In Edinburgh I found my future.

Day 15: Journey to Scotland: The Journey Home

Our journey back to Honolulu, began early on August 15 . . . many of us did not sleep or had only an hour or so before we had to load the bus with our baggage at 2:30 am.  We then headed to Glasgow airport to fly to Gatwick airport, then load baggage on bus to go to Heathrow.  We then flew over 10 hours to San Francisco to find our our flight back to Honolulu was delayed for two hours.

We finally arrived in Honolulu at about 11:35 pm . . . everyone was a bit sad to leave Scotland and the UK and the new friends we made, but everyone was happy to be home.

Thank you to everyone who followed our blog over the last few weeks and perhaps even months.  But this blog is not closed yet.  We will be posting final thoughts from the group over the next week.  Keep following.

Thoughts from NPAC member: Chelsea Wanstead

This trip was a bundle of nonstop surprises, from all of the beautiful surrounding architecture to the colorful people we met at the Fringe. I literally didn't want to leave it was so amazing. Glad that we all worked our butts off for this, worth every minute and every pound of it (for us dedicated shoppers who walked to the mile in the rain lol). 

Sad we only really socialized with people mostly right before we left, but that's what facebook is for right? The culture was amazing, thank you to Michelle & Robin Kitsu, Roy Kimura, and all the chaperones and students that made this experience something I'll treasure forever. 

The amazement of the awesome voices we all heard and watching our own perform right after Jersey Boys, they're gonna be youtube stars xD Truly one of the best groups ever, glad we came up with A LOT of inside jokes even rekindled some from the past. 

Every AHSTF group was so amazing, sad we didn't get to see all of the shows, but the ones we did see were worth the experience. Gosh guys mister wasn't kidding about having a lot of new fb friends after this trip. Wish I could've packed all of Scotland in my pocket, or teleported my loved ones and friends there. 

And remember our times spent in the dorms with our shenanigans (and remembering to never steal Chelsea Wanstead's Domo ever again!!!!) Oh and don't forget them folk dances :3 After this hope everyone's realized sky is the limit :D

Thoughts from NPAC member: Brandon Saballa

OMG!  What can i say about this trip?  This trip has been nothing but a blessing to me since day 1.  I got to travel off the island for the first time in my life, and what a first time it was because I got to go to EUROPE!  Lolz!  How many people can say that?  And then Mr. Robin Kitsu throws a surprise right out there that brought me to tears "CONGRATULATIONS GUYS YOU WILL BE WATCHING WICKED IN 1 HOUR"....I was like....*CRY!!!*......Lolz! 

I finally, after 3 years, got to watch Wicked and that was a dream come true.  Another treat we got was to watch Blood Brothers and the day after we watched...wait for it, wait for it...JERSEY BOYS!!!!....OMG Andrew Hahn and I WERE LIKE LITTLE GIRLS IN THE CROWD!..lolz they were so awesome.
And then we got to perform outside the theatre our Jersey Boy's medley that brought us again to tears. 

So many tears already left in London. Scotland brought us tons of shopping, great high school productions from Nunsense all the way to Haroun and the Sea of stories, and our students did an amazing job. I'm so proud of each and everyone of them with UNDER THE INFLUENCE. 

Our trip is coming to a closing, can you imagine how many tears we'll leave here in Scotland? After all the friends and memories we made, I'm sure we'll leave a lot. 

Thank you so much Mr. for this trip, also Michelle and Chloe for all that you have done for me and the gang.  If it weren't for you guys i wouldn't be on this trip. This trip made an inprint on my life and its all because of you 3. Thank you guys so much for the blessing.  WE LOVE YOU!!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 14: Journey to Scotland: Last Day

Today was our last full day in Edinburgh.  Several of us woke up early to hike up Arthur's Seat to get a view of the city.  The hike was about 30 minutes and it was a beautiful sight.

Then several NPAC members went back to the Royal Mile to do some last minute shopping.  We then returned to the dorm to participate in the closing ceremonies.  We heard wonderful speeches by AHSTF staff people and others.  The message of holding on to the memories of this experience was not lost on the NPAC members.

Finally, we had our farewell celebration dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.  The dinner ended with each NPAC cast member and alumni staff member thanking Mr. Kitsu and Roy and Glen . . . it was a very emotional time.  Then the NPAC cast and staff surprised Mr. Kitsu and Roy and Glen with gifts . . . what a great bunch of people!

Finally we returned to the dorms to pack and to prepare for the long trip home.  We will post more thoughts  from the cast and alumni over the next week.  Thank you to everyone who helped us live this dream and thank you to everyone who took time to follow this blog and support our efforts at the Fringe.