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The Boronda Scholars 2023

Finding Art and Culture in Hawaii




It was an exciting time for seven Hartnell Students selected as the 2023 Boronda Scholars. From May 28 thru June 11, they traveled to Hawaii, where they visited the Big Island, Maui, and Oahu.


“For six of the students, it was their first time in Hawaii,” said Dr. Lee Ritscher, faculty in charge. “They were blown away by this experience.”



Dr. Ritscher and the scholars were accompanied by Professor Dan Peterson as the second coordinator of the trip.


Their search for culture and the arts began on the Big Island. The group visited Hilo, Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls, Kona, and more. Then they continued to Maui, where they experienced the Road to Hana, with many stops along the way, went up to Haleakala, and visited artsy Lahaina. Next was Oahu, where arts and culture followed them everywhere they went – a walking tour in Chinatown, Pearl Harbor, the Honolulu Museum of Art, The Actors’ Group Uncle Vanya performance, snorkeling, and of course, a luau (pictured). They found the islands were rich in dance, song, culture, the arts, and history.

The Sylvano and Maria Boronda International Study Program was established in 1985 and has taken students to South America, Central America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, as well as various locations in the United States. In his will, Lester D. Boronda specified that the recipients were to be students of unusual promise in the arts, namely painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, drama, music, or dance.


Students selected for the Boronda Program study and travel under the direction of a Hartnell College instructor. The scholarship includes paid expenses for air and ground transportation, lodging, meal allowance, and accident insurance.


Dr. Lee, a four-time Boronda trip coordinator, shared that all the scholars showed gratitude for this experience. “They enjoyed this trip so much. They said that although Hawaii is part of the United States, it felt like a completely foreign place. They agree it was a life-changing opportunity they will never forget.”


The scholars learned a lot about current and past cultures and civilizations. They enjoyed their time on the three islands and in the end, most of them purchased a Ukulele to play and to remind them of this amazing experience.

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