A group of Tauranga Girls' College students will get a special insight into the American civil rights movement next month when they meet some of the people who were directly involved.
Seventeen students are travelling to the United States on April 12 for a 15-day history trip.
The head of social sciences at the school, Murray Armstrong, said the history students study a big topic on African American civil rights in the 1960s and 1970s.
"I want the students to go over and see it for themselves," he said.
The group will fly into New York, before heading to Washington DC. They will then visit Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee and California.
"They don't just study from books; they actually get out there," Armstrong said.
"They see for themselves, they hear for themselves, they feel for themselves. They experience it."
The group, half Year 12s and half Year 13s, will meet Bernard Lafayette in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Lafayette was a Freedom Rider – a civil rights activist who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States during the 60s.
The Tauranga group are also arranging to meet up with one of the Little Rock Nine, Elizabeth Eckford.
Eckford was one of nine African American students who enrolled at formerly all-white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957.
The Tauranga students will visit the school where President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the nine students after they were blocked by the Arkansas National Guard on orders from the Governor.
Keilani Worthen, 16, one of the Tauranga students going on the trip, said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
She said she enjoyed history and learning about the civil rights movement and what people went through.
"We're going to the Rosa Parks Museum, and we're going to the bus stop where she actually stayed on the bus and didn't get off. I think that will be definitely one of the highlights," the Year 12 student said.
"I think we're talking to one of the people who participated in the march across the bridge and so getting real-life experience from them will be very cool."
She was referring to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, the scene of Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965.
The students will meet Dianne Harris, who was there at the age of 15.
Read more: Chance to live history first-hand
Another Tauranga student, Keeley Henderson, 16, said she was looking forward to visiting New York and seeing important monuments and historic sites.
The Year 12 student said she was also excited about touring the White House and experiencing places they have learned about in the classroom.
In New York, the students would visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building.
Some other trip highlights include going to Graceland in Memphis, and Hollywood and Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles.
The students will also eat at some famous restaurants and cafes, get a tour of CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta and visit the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), also in Atlanta.
Armstrong and Rita Perigo from the school's department of social sciences will supervise the trip alongside parents.