Along with the invitation to march in the parade, Bramble presented cuff links and paperweights to school officials.
“These kids have never been to London,” Southmoore band director Adam Mewhorter said. “Band kids are the hardest working kids on campus.”
Mewhorter said band students come early to practice before school and stay after school, then come in on Saturdays. It’s been a tougher year than most because of the tornado, Mewhorter said.
Traveling on a bus with the band is a very noisy affair, he said, but when the bus drives through a tornado-devastated area, the kids fall silent.
“Band has been a relief,” Mewhorter said. “It gets them away from the devastation.”
The May 20 tornado came very close to Southmoore High School and wiped out local neighborhoods.
Because Moore was hit so hard by the tornado, parade organizers decided to invite Southmoore to march in the 2016 parade rather than in the 2015 parade, as was originally intended. That will give the school two years to raise the $3,500 per student to pay for the trip.
Mewhorter has 209 band students this year, grown from 89 band members at Southmoore’s inception six years ago. Southmoore is the newest of Moore’s three high school campuses.
By the time the band marches in the parade, Mewhorter hopes for 250 members. Students said they will be washing cars, waiting on tables at local restaurants, selling candy and beef jerky, and hosting numerous other fundraisers to earn money for the trip.
Band organizers also presented four scholarships to assist students with great financial need.
“We’re proud of our kids,” Mewhorter said. “If the kids don’t work hard, we’ve got nothing.”
Bone said only the best high schools are invited to perform in the parade.
“They sought us out,” Mewhorter said.