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Marching On Washington

The 95-member Blue Eagles marching band, from South Cobb High School in Austell, Ga., is getting the opportunity to do what very few people do: represent their state and march in the 2009 Presidential Inauguration parade, according to the New York Times. But the band wasn’t sure they could even make it to Washington. The $85,000 in transportation costs for the band, chaperones, and equipment was a daunting hurdle for the school, where more than half the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

“Tears started running down my face,” said Megan Lightcap, captain of the band’s color guard, of the night the band got the news that they were chosen to march. “I turned to my best friend and said, ‘Marissa, how are we going to get the money?’”

Despite their initial financial anxieties, the Blue Eagles had enough money within 48 hours to cover the cost of the trip. Community members and strangers from as far away as Arizona and California contributed more than 16,000 donations totaling over $71,000 to the school’s website.

According to the Times, other donations included an envelope filled with $500 left on the schools doorstep, a $15,000 trailer from an Atlanta Peach Moving company, free fuel and 1,800 meals from gas company RaceTrac Petroleum, and $20,000 from Lockhead Martin, which has a facility in Cobb County.

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