"They decided they would work and earn their own money and go to Hawaii," said Terri Wallace, mother of SHS senior Whitney Wallace. "They really got a cheap deal - about as cheap as going anywhere else. It's right about $1,000 a piece and that's for airfare and everything."
With a little over $1,000 each to raise for the trip, the eight seniors have stayed busy raising money for the trip, according to senior Chelsea Grigery, with fund-raisers so far including selling "dinner and a movie" discount cards and having a 50-50 drawing at the SEMO racetrack. "Local businesses have been very supportive," she said.
Car washes raised some of the early money for the trip, and more car washes will be held when the weather warms back up for those who still need some money.
"Everybody's at different levels," Ashley Schetter, senior, said of their fund-raising effort results. She said her trip is actually already paid for: "I'm just working on my mom, now."
One of the upcoming fund-raisers looks like it will be a nice deal for the contributors, as well: "They will be babysitting for moms and dads to go Christmas shopping," said Mrs. Wallace.
The babysitting will be offered from 2-10 p.m. on Nov. 27 and Dec. 11 at the First Baptist Church gym. The cost will be $40 for the full eight-hour session, or $20 for four hours or less.
Dec. 11 will be a busy day for the Hawaii-bound seniors, as they also plan to sack groceries for donations at the Sikeston Market Place.
Another fund-raising venture they have planned will raffle off an afghan, and senior Josh Hampton said his mom is going to put together a car show.
Friends since kindergarten, Whitney Wallace, Amy Featherston, Chelsea Grigery and Ashley Schetter decided they "wanted to do some kind of alternative trip with no drinking," according to Whitney.
While they aren't bashing the official trip, they knew the legal drinking age in Mexico is only 18, so the temptation to drink does exist there while not even being an option in Hawaii.
Mrs. Wallace said she is "proud of them and proud they are taking a stand."
As the time plans for a trip to Hawaii started to solidify, Nick Lane, Josh Hampton, Zach Casey and Kyle Rodgers decided they would like to join them.
"I wanted to go somewhere else," Zach recalled - and then he heard about the Hawaii trip.
"My mom works with Zach's mom, so that's how it started," said Ashley.
Eventually five of the seniors' parents decided they, too, would like to go along - but not because they think their children need chaperones. "We just wanted to go," said Mrs. Wallace.
Asked why they picked Hawaii, Amy simply stated the obvious: "It's Hawaii!"
"It's a real relaxing place and a good fit to go from a stressful senior year to a relaxing paradise," Chelsea explained.
Josh said seniors seem to go to Cancun every year. "We wanted to do something a bit different." He said the whole idea is to get away from Sikeston, and Mexico is just not quite far enough for him.
Hawaii, on the other hand, is "out in the middle of nowhere," Josh said. "You can't get any more far away."
And Zach described their Hawaii trip as "a safer alternative." He explained that while Hawaii is remote, it is still in the United States while Mexico is a foreign country. "Last time I went there I lost my I.D. and it got kind of complicated getting back," he said.
The eight seniors and the parents will leave on May 28, the day after school lets out, for an eight day and seven night trip, which means their alternative trip will not only be "different" than the everyone else's, but will be a bit longer, too.
The eight Hawaii-bound seniors already have some of their activities planned out.
"We're going to a luau," said Ashley. Nick said the guys plan to go scuba diving, and the girls said they will rent convertibles to cruise their island paradise.
"Hawaii is just a nice place," said Zach.
Those interested in the babysitting or other fund-raisers can contact Whitney Wallace at 471-3024 or Ashley Schetter at 472-0311.