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.

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!