• Kainoa Vallente, student with the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence, sits in the pilot seat and looks out onto Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, during a field trip, Feb. 13, 2013.

    Exceptional kids have exceptional trip

    Kainoa Vallente, student with the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence, sits in the pilot seat and looks out onto Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, during a field trip, Feb. 13, 2013.

  • Students from Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence at Mililani Middle School check out a helicopter that Evergreen pulled from the hanger bay, during a field trip on Wheeler Army Airfield, Feb. 13, 2013.

    Exceptional kids have exceptional trip

    Students from Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence at Mililani Middle School check out a helicopter that Evergreen pulled from the hanger bay, during a field trip on Wheeler Army Airfield, Feb. 13, 2013.

  • Timothy Choi, a student with the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence, and Marine Cpt. Graham Perry, a reservist in the Marine Corps, pose for a picture as Perry explains how to use the controllers in the helicopter on Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, Feb. 13, 2013.

    Exceptional kids have exceptional trip

    Timothy Choi, a student with the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence, and Marine Cpt. Graham Perry, a reservist in the Marine Corps, pose for a picture as Perry explains how to use the controllers in the helicopter on Wheeler Army Airfield...

  • Malia Seward, primary teacher for the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence at Mililani Middle School, stands with Kainoa Vallente, student with the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence as he gets ready to climb inside a helicopter, during a field trip to Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, Feb. 13, 2013.

    Exceptional kids have exceptional trip

    Malia Seward, primary teacher for the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence at Mililani Middle School, stands with Kainoa Vallente, student with the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence as he gets ready to climb inside a helicopter, during a...

  • Students, teachers, Evergreen workers and a Soldier with the 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, pose for a group photo at end of a field trip to Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, to see helicopters, Feb. 13, 2013.

    Exceptional kids have exceptional trip

    Students, teachers, Evergreen workers and a Soldier with the 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, pose for a group photo at end of a field trip to Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, to see helicopters, Feb. 13...

WHEELER ARMY AIR FIELD, Hawaii (Feb. 26, 2013) -- Students from the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence at Mililani Middle School, specializing in special education development, took a field trip with the Soldiers from 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, to Wheeler Air Field to meet with the people who work for Evergreen Helicopters, Feb. 13.

The excitement was almost too much to contain in one van. Kids were talking to one another, sounds of the band One Direction blared through the headphones of another student, and the teachers smiled at their students because they realized that later that day their students would be able to do something that they may never have the opportunity to do again.

"I can see the helicopter. I want to fly helicopters and do what you guys do!" Kainoa Vallente, a student with the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellance, exclaimed!

Marine Capt. Graham Perry, a reservist in the Marine Corps, awaited the students' arrival. As soon as the students stepped off the van, they ran up to him and leaped with joy as they proceeded to the helicopter.

Throughout the trip, Perry explained the major ins and outs of helicopters. The kids were able to interact with the staff and climb all over the helicopter, including the pilot seat.

"Communication skills are very important to the children and just getting them out and socializing is more than we can ask for," said Malia Seward, the primary teacher for the students. "Plus they just love getting out of the classroom."

Smiles and laughter filled the helicopter as the children explored every nook and cranny. To see the excitement that consumed their faces and experiencing something for the first time was a priceless moment for everyone, said Seward. These kids were spirited the entire time and would have stayed the entire day if Evergreen had the time.

"Anything that we can do to help is our pleasure," said Perry. "They are having the best time."

The unit gladly sponsors the Mililani Middle School and helps out in any way possible. Maj. Shawn Patrick, former training officer for the 65th Eng. Bn., arranged this helicopter experience, and was not going to rest until he made this dream come true for them.

He did, however, have a little written encouragement from Seward's class. The students wrote Patrick a letter saying how excited they were for the helicopter experience. Once he received the letter, he immediately called in a friend from Evergreen helicopter, and a few short weeks later he made sure that a promise was fulfilled.

The 65th Eng. Bn. strives for excellence in everything that it's apart of. The students of this class gave the "Bayonet" family something to strive for, and a way to give back to the community that has always been supportive.

The children left the helicopter visit with dreams fulfilled and their communication skills improved. The teachers were able to take a break as well.

The military and the 65th Eng. Bn., are thanked all the time for their service, but the teachers are far too often overlooked, said the Soldiers of the 65th.

The Soldiers are grateful for the teachers of Mililani Middle School and the Po'okela Center for Educational Excellence, for their hard work, and their dedication to these kids does not go unnoticed.

Page last updated Tue February 26th, 2013 at 08:46