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Students who restored Japanese boat traveling to Japan

CRESCENT CITY- The Del Norte High School students who raised money to return the boat that washed ashore after the 2011 Japan Tsunami are about to meet the high school students who once used that boat.

Thursday was the last day of school until February 25th for the Del Norte High School students who got the Japanese boat back into shape.  They will be flying to Japan Friday to meet the students of Takata High School, the school the boat belonged to.

"What I'm looking forward to is just seeing what the boat means to them, to their school and to their town," said Halie DeArman, who is a senior.

The students say it will be the trip of a lifetime.

"It's really exciting just to be able to experience a different culture and to be able to meet all the students that we've been able to connect with," said Griffin Walker, who is a junior.

They say the connection they share with the people of Rikuzentakata motivated them to help.

"There a small fishing community.  We're a small fishing community.  They had obviously a bigger tsunami than us, but we've had tsunamis as well.  So in a way, we have that special connection," John Steven, a junior.

"What if it was us? What if the roles were reversed and we had a tsunami like this?  I mean it's easily possible and I'd really hope that if we had something that we really cherished here, and it landed over there, I'd hope we'd get it back," said Connor Field, a sophomore.

Even though their trip has not started, they have already learned valuable lessons.

"I hope people understand that the boat is such a symbol of hope and survival through such a disastrous event and they see that they can help others just like a group of students from a high school can," Walker said.

"The little things can end up doing a really big thing in the end to bring hope to those kids," said Field.

The six Del Norte High School students will arrive in Japan tomorrow at around midnight Pacific Time.