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Trip Leaders

HPA's Summer Outdoor Program has a professional staff that encourages students to challenge themselves, while always ensuring the safety of the group. Each leader promotes Hawaiian culture and traditions, is trained in outdoor safety, and has a love and passion for adventure and conservation. Leaders have their American Red Cross Lifeguard certification, First Aid and CPR, and at least one member at all times has Wilderness First Responder certification.

John Kilkenny, Trip Leader


John has grown up actively. Backpacking, traveling extensively, living in South East Asia, surfing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, and teaching downhill skiing and snowboarding have been crammed into his exciting career as a high school science, math, and history teacher, coach, and the parent of three adorable boys. Currently, John teaches and is a residential life member at Hawai'i Preparatory Academy (HPA). His favorite part of HPA's Summer Outdoor Program is cliff jumping at South Point and visiting the spectacular backcountry and beaches of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

Jaime Johnson, Program Coordinator


Jaime is a passionate high school English teacher and residential parent at Hawai'i Preparatory Academy (HPA), on the island of Hawai'i. When she is not grading papers and correcting comma splices, she is adventuring across Hawai'i with her students and young son. Jaime has traveled and lived all over the world, including trekking in Nepal, whitewater raft guiding in Uganda, and rock climbing in Bulgaria. Searching for the pueo owl (Hawaiian short-eared owl) in the hills behind school with her young son is her favorite activity. But, snorkeling at night with manta rays in the warm tropical waters of Hawai'i, and stargazing on remote and pristine sandy beaches are two of Jamie's favorite HPA Summer Outdoor Program activities.

Elizabeth Wroe, Trip Leader


Elizabeth can't wait to be back working with the HPA Summer Outdoor Program. Last year was full of fun, adventure, and community and she is exited to meet this year's group. She loves all things outdoors, especially adventuring and exploring new places. She's lived all over the country, including Washington state, Boston, South Carolina, Alaska and Wyoming! Currently living in Colorado, Elizabeth spends as much time in the mountains as possible - skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and hiking, camping, and canoeing in the summer. As an environmental science teacher and outdoor trip leader for The Logan School in Denver, she is lucky to continually be able to visit beautiful new places with her students in all corners of the country. Elizabeth enjoys cooking, live music, and traveling and is super excited to return to HPA.

Xuan Vu, Trip Leader

Xuan is a new resident to the Pacific Northwest and loves it! She has always been an outdoor enthusiast; however, it wasn't until a transformative summer experience climbing the Grand Tetons that she discovered her passion to be an educator. With her MEd, B.S., and A.S. degrees, Xuan is steeped in curricula development and integrative learning. Drawing on her many roles as a wilderness-based outdoor educator, Xuan brings unique experience with multi-cultural experiential learning and an innovative style to her teaching philosophy. She is ecstatic for the experience and opportunities in working with HPA this summer!

David Pachter, Intern

David grew up in New York City, but his heart has always been in the outdoors. He grew up hiking, snowboarding, and traveling around the world. He is currently a freshman at Bowdoin College in Maine and loves it! At the moment he is an undeclared major, but he is leaning towards studying Physics or Environmental Studies. Besides spending lots of time in the great outdoors of Maine, he works to spread awareness on environmental issues on his college campus, fostering sustainability and stewardship in the community. He is excited to be working with HPA this summer!

Savannah Cochran, Student Leader

Savannah, a member of HPA's class of 2016, is pumped to spend three weeks of her summer adventuring around the Big Island before she leaves for Dartmouth College in the fall. Growing up in North Kohala, she has grown to appreciate all of the rad nature Hawai'i has to offer, and she can't get enough! Her favorite spot on island is the summit of Mauna Kea because the incredible views of the mountain and stars (or possibly the lack of oxygen) take her breath away. When Savannah isn't exploring the outdoors, you can find her running distance or partaking in spontaneous shenanigans.



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