Choir students at Eisenhower High School traveled to New York City earlier this month, after four years of fundraising efforts.
Denise Pearson, director of choirs at Eisenhower, said that 53 students went on the trip. "Everyone who wanted to go, went," she said.
The trip cost about $970 per student, and each student paid $200 of that amount. "The support of the Warren County community made it possible," she said.
Photo submitted to the Times Observer
From left, EHS choir members Mikki Gifford, Hannah Bortz, Hosanna Senz, Kirsten Baran, Emily Bailey, Madi Hultman, Rachel Enos and Nikki Eckman pose with the New York City skyline in the background while waiting for a ferry to take them to Staten and Ellis islands.
She added that donations from the Community Foundation of Warren County and Sugar Grove American Legion Post 758 were crucial to the trip.
Freshman Nick Gourley explained that they raised money with tag days at local businesses, bagging groceries at Thorne's Bi-Lo, and selling Cherrydale products to friends and family.
The reason Eisenhower holds the trip once every four years is not only for fund-raising efforts, but so that every choir student will have a chance at making the trip once during their high school years.
Pearson said that it was a wonderful cultural experience for the students. "It was neat to be in Times Square at night" and see wonder on their faces, she said. "This is a long-standing Eisenhower tradition, we are into the second generation of students making the trip."
She said that one student took so many photos of every place they visited that her father said he felt like he had been on the trip.
"One girl told me it was very important to her parents that they went to the 9-11 Memorial," she added.
She said that the trip was a combination of "fun stuff, history, music and science."
Senior Ricky Zortman said, "We performed 'Dona Nobis Pacem' at the 9-11 Memorial and 'Give Me Your Tired and Poor' at the Statue of Liberty."
Ninth-grade student Lauren Honhart said, "I liked the Broadway shows 'Wicked' and 'Newsies."
Zortman said that they got singing and dancing lessons during a workshop by the professional Broadway cast members of "Newsies,", adding "They are really good shows."
Pearson said it was wonderful for the kids to meet celebrities that they recognized and receive lessons from them.
Sophomore Anthony Monde said his favorite part was just walking around with his friends and hanging out, "but the Broadway shows were awesome, too."
They also visited the Natural History Museum and Central Park, but Honhart said her favorite part was a dinner and dancing cruise on the Hudson River aboard the Spirit of New York.
Zortman added they met another group of high school students from the Columbus, Ohio, area on the ship.
Pearson said that the trip package included a dedicated team nightly to make sure the students felt safe.