NAWILIWILI – The tiny Academy of Travel and Tourism (AOTT) classroom bristled
with activity as students broke into several smaller groups to work on
finalizing their service project a display of Kaua`i products and activities
geared towards informing both visitors and kama`aina.
With the target date
of the week before spring break in March looming before them, the 53 students
in the two-year learning program at Kaua`i High School have amassed over 100
representative businesses and products for the two display areas located at the
Lihu’e airport, but there is room for more.
Celina Baliaris, the program’s
junior class representative, was full of enthusiasm as she said this was a good
way for Kaua`i businesses and products to be exposed to airport arrivals and
departures as two separate displays will be created.
The senior class,
numbering 16 students, will be working on a Kaua`i products showcase on the
Hawaiian Air side of the terminal while the remainder of the class will create
a more generalized display at the Aloha Airlines wing.
A group of mapmakers
scribbled notes as well as toyed with varying depictions of the island while
another group clicked away on computers, entering the names and addresses of
the collection of business cards that is the result of several weeks of
canvassing the island.
Business organizations will be broken down into four
island districts and coded according to categories such as shopping,
restaurants, and activities, Baliaris explained.
Students, some garbed in
attire depicting representatives of the visitor industry, paced off the actual
space of the airport display cases while others reached up the wall to mark off
the height of the display.
Another group rummaged through cartons, shopping
bags, and a collection of samples that is also the result of canvassing the
Val Tina Calaycay, the program’s director, said the
project is an integrated learning affair as four teachers of the program are
also involved, and students have had to draw on experiences from both the
classroom as well as from their job shadow experiences since the start of the
Baliaris, who also dances the hula for the Hyatt Regency’s
luau, agreed that this was truly a learning experience as they’ve had to learn
to interact with people, both in the business community as well as with
visitors. The job shadow experiences at businesses directly involved with the
visitor industry allowed students a chance to interact with tourists, Baliaris
“We’ve learned what they (visitors) want from their Kaua`i
experience,” Baliaris said. “We’ve also learned how to respond to
questions being asked by businesses participating in the display. It’s been a
lot of fun!”
“There is no charge for businesses to be
represented,” Baliaris said. “They just need to let us know they’re
interested.” But, time is rapidly running out as Calaycay said they will
be accepting considerations until the end of February for inclusion in the
display which will be up until the end of August.
As one student fielded
telephone questions from Sharlene Mata of Hawaiian Keepsakes in the Coconut
Marketplace, Calaycay stood by in the event the vendor posed questions that
needed clarification from the director.
The AOTT program is part of the
National Academy Foundation, and is available to Kaua`i High School juniors who
complete a two-year program before graduating high school.
for the Kaua`i program include Danny Aki of the Outrigger Kaua`i Beach Hotel,
Yolanda Cabinatan of Trans Hawaiian, Gayln Fujii from Robert’s Hawai`i, Dennis
Fujimoto of the Garden Island newspaper, Glenn Hayakawa of the Kaua`i Marriott
Resort, Kimberly Kato representing the Kaua`i Teachers Federal Credit
Leesha Kawamura comes from Hawaiian Airlines, Jolene Kono represents
Aloha Airlines, Cheryl Michioka heads the Board representing Mokihana Travel
Service, and Bruce Morehead comes in from Budget Rent-a-Car.
of Smith’s Boat Service, Jeff Tarpey of United Airlines, and Carla Thomas of
the Hyatt Regency Kaua`i Resort round out the Board that oversees the
For more information, or to be part of the Kaua`i display,
interested businesses and organizations may call the Academy at 274-3178, or
e-mail the Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org.