Three students from Princess Alexandra School have plenty of stories to tell after a surprise, whirlwind visit to Disneyland last week.
“It was great, amazing, cool,” said Harvey Havioyak-Kolaohok in succinctly summing up the trip.
Twelve-year old Harvey, a Grade 7 student, was accompanied by Albert Rymer, also a 12-year-old student in Grade 7, and Simara Tambour-Wilson, a 10-year-old Grade 5 student.
At a school assembly on Sept. 23, they were called to the front and handed golden tickets for the trip. They departed on Sept. 29, were in Disneyland on Sept. 30 for a VIP tour, and returned to Hay River on Oct. 1.
Albert also found Disneyland amazing, especially the rides, the food, the shopping and the scenery.
“It was more than what I expected,” he said.
Simara didn’t think there would be so many people in Disneyland.
Her favourite part of the experience was the roller-coasters.
“My favourites were Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain,” she said. “Every single one I went on, really.”
All three children said the adventure was a lot of fun.
The trip was part of a program called Dreams Take Flight, a charity created by employees of Air Canada. It selects children – aged from nine to 12 years – to offer a trip of a lifetime based on a range of criteria.
Jennifer Tweedie, a teacher at Princess Alexandra School, brought the program to the school for the first time this year.
Tweedie accompanied the students to Edmonton, and waited there while they went to Disneyland with students from around Alberta accompanied by a Dreams Take Flight team.
“They were kind of overwhelmed, I think,” she said. “But when they came back they were smiling from ear to ear and couldn’t wait to tell me about their favourite rides they were on and show me what they had bought at the Disney store, because they each got some money to spend while they were down there.”
Tweedie said the trip will help broaden the children’s worldview.
“For a couple of these kids, it was their first plane rides, and they took seven in three days, eight actually,” she said. “And what was beautiful was their reactions to the clouds when they were flying in the clouds. They said it was like being in heaven. That was pretty special.”