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‘Paniolo Night’ will help fund MPA students’ East Coast trip

By Staff | Jan 14, 2010

Students enjoyed "Paniolo Night" in 2009.

NAPILI — Maui Preparatory Academy will host its fourth annual “Paniolo Night” on Saturday, Jan. 23, from 3 to 9 p.m. on its Napili campus grounds.

This fun-filled evening for children and adults alike is a major fund-raising event for the school’s eighth grade field trip to New York and Boston in May.

The excursion, which compliments the eighth-graders American History curriculum, affords the students the opportunity to experience the excitement, culture and history of two of America’s oldest cities.

They will explore the historic sites in both cities and enjoy many events, including visits to Boston’s Freedom Trail, the Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, seeing a Broadway show, going to a Major League Baseball game, exploring Central Park and visiting colleges.

“I am really excited about fund-raising for the Boston-New York trip,” said Maui Prep Principal Leigh Fitzgerald, a New England native who graduated from Harvard.

“This trip serves as a capstone for the students’ middle school career at Maui Prep. I never tire of watching their faces light up when they first see the New York skyline or their first Broadway show. It is a remarkable experience for the kids to be on their own for a week as they learn how to navigate big cities, rely on one another for help and experience things that might be outside their comfort zone, such as staying in a hotel without mom and dad.

“As much as the kids are entertained by the ‘big’ attractions, such as the museums, baseball games or the Statue of Liberty, it is often the little things — feeding squirrels, hanging out at the hotel with friends and playing on the swings at Central Park — that the kids enjoy the most.”

Paniolo Night this year will feature the traditional Western barbecue buffet of chicken, ribs, corn on the cob, baked beans, cole slaw, corn bread, homemade paniolo punch and dessert.    

The afternoon will begin with games, face painting, hat decorating, food concessions, dunk tank, horseback riding and a petting zoo.

The evening portion of the event will feature the all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet, live music, costume contest, karaoke, cake walk and line dancing.

Scrip will be sold onsite for the afternoon activities, and tickets for the buffet are on sale for $20 for adults and $10 for children in grades K-4.

Pre-sale tickets for the evening of dining, dancing and music are available by visiting the Maui Prep office in Napili or by calling 665-9966.

“As we have worked on this fund-raising event this year, I have been impressed with how many of our ninth- and tenth-graders want to assist… Each remembers his or her trip fondly and is eager to assist the eighth-graders in fund-raising for theirs. It is great to hear the older kids telling stories of their adventures and about how it really served as a bonding experience for their class. It is a truly awesome experience the students and the teacher chaperones will carry with them for life,” Fitzgerald said.

Current Maui Prep ninth-grader Hayley Robb added, “The whole trip was really fun, and you get to bond with your classmates. It would really be great to go again.”

Slater Trout, another ninth-grader who made the trip last year, summed it up in saying, “That was the best trip of my life!”