RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
SOUTH WEBSTER — Three seniors at South Webster High School have much to be thankful for this year. They are raising money to send them to New York City to march with the Great American Marching Band in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
There are 200 student members of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band traveling from all over the United States. This year among them will be Mitchell Richardson, Mikhail Smith, and Kiya Crall from South Webster High School.
“I’m really proud of all three of the students. These are probably three of the hardest working, most dedicated students that I know. I know they’re going to represent the community and South Webster very well,” said South Webster Band Director Ryan Erwin.
For two of them at least, this isn’t the first time they’ll be in the parade. When the Macy’s Great American Marching Band opened auditions for students from more than 14,000 high schools in the United States last year, Richardson, a drummer, was the first from South Webster to be invited. Several months later the band announced they needed a few more trumpet players, and Richardson’s mother encouraged classmate Mikhail Smith to send in her audition tape. Within a week of sending her tape and application, Smith was accepted.
“It was pretty amazing,” Smith said. “It was pretty intense being there with that many people who that was their passion.”
Because they both participated last year, they have been invited to return again this year — along with classmate Kiya Crall, who will be marching for the first time as one of two banner carriers at the front of the line.
“Mikhail messaged me and said they needed another banner carrier, so I sent them my application and I waited and waited, then I figured I didn’t get it. Then two days after I found out that I got on at Scioto County’s Fair Court, for Fair Queen, I found out. I was really excited,” Crall said.
Richardson gave her a few words of encouragement before their trip.
“It’s a real experience,” he said, smiling widely.
While the program will pay for their lodging in New York City, the families have to pay for their own transportation and uniforms. Each student has to raise $1,500 on their own to make the trip — $4,500 in all. Richardson had a fundraiser in Tracy Park on July 4th and then at Gatti’s Pizza the next day; Smith will have a bake sale, and Crall is sending out letters asking for donations.
“I think it’s going slower. Last year it seemed like everyone wanted to help but this year it seems like everyone is having more trouble and they’re not as forward to help,” Smith said.
On Aug. 3-4, the families will be standing at U.S. 52 and Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth collecting donations from passing motorists. If anyone would also like to mail a donation directly, they can send a check to the high school, c/o Macy’s Band Students Fundraiser, at 2856 Great Meadow Road, South Webster, Ohio 45682.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.