Twelve Tauranga student will head off on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Silicon Valley and Stanford University in California for the next seven days.

Secondary school students from Bethlehem's Te Wharekura o Mauao are leaving home to spend a week in America where they will meet with entrepreneurs, investors, PhD students and Stanford professors while participating in science workshops.

Three students about to embark on the trip are Iritana Te Moana, Mauri-Paihere Totorewa, and Olivia Mokomoko are excited to experience the American culture and what the renown university has to offer.

Students and parents gathered at the school grounds today with their bags packed and a karakia (prayer) was said before they left for the airport.

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Students will be accompanied by their principal, Koa Douglas, and the school's Head of Technology, Grant Ranui.

NZQA's Deputy Chief Executive Māori Daryn Bean will also attend to evaluate how the students find the programme, along with representatives from Kumikumi Trust and Callaghan Innovation.