Parents and friends gathered inside Terminal 2 at RDU to welcome back Hillside's One Voice acting troupe from its eight-day trip to California.
The Durham drama team gave two performances, toured Paramount Studios and took acting classes from a prominent Hollywood casting agent.
They said the highlight of the trip was meeting director Kevin Wilson Jr., who was recently nominated for an Oscar for his short film, "My Nephew Emmitt."
Wilson is also a proud alumnus of Hillside and its drama program.
Durham native and Hillside High grad nominated for an Oscar
Back in the spring of 2007, Kevin Wilson Jr. Was graduating Durham's Hillside High School- armed with some raw talent and a big dream. 11 years later, he's a New York University film student who just got invited to the biggest award show in Hollywood.
"(Wilson) coming from Durham and then coming from the same school and the same program that we're in really makes it seem that it's possible for you to go in the same field that he's in," said Hillside junior Daniella Ochman.
Senior Natalie Perkins smiled from ear to ear recalling the trip and the conversation with Wilson.
"Just getting to talk with him and getting his insight as a director was just an amazing opportunity," she said.
Hillside High's drama exchange program has sent students to study and perform in Cuba, Europe, Asia and Africa.