In December, Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis was presented with a very heady honor – both the show choir, The Technicians, and the concert choir, The Tech Choir, were selected to perform at Disney World in April.
There was just one problem – Arsenal Tech has a student body made up of low-income, and even homeless, students, making the cost of a trip to Orlando very prohibitive. Who wants to see the land of fairies, princesses, and big-eared mice when you are having a hard enough time figuring out where your next meal is coming from?
The cost was estimated to be around $40,000 total – money that a cash-strapped school such as Arsenal Tech wouldn’t be able to raise. So the school asked for locals to help fund the performance for the students, and the choirs performed in the evenings and held a performance of Christmas carols to raise money for their trip.
Still, it wasn’t enough.
Until in stepped one Jim Irsay, who just happens to be the owner of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
In February, Irsay took to social media – Twitter, to be exact – and sent out a call for help.
“Inner-city Arsenal Tech H.S. Choir invited to perform Disney World in April, but need $$. I will help if u will!” he tweeted. He followed that one up with “Let’s get these kids to Orlando to represent INDY!!”
“I can’t believe it,” said Cindy Hartshorn, one of the two choir directors.
Last week, Irsay stayed true to his word and wrote a check to the school to cover the remaining expenses. He marked the occasion by tweeting “Hey ARSENAL TECH, pack your bags…”
“It’s the trip of a lifetime,” senior Zachory Stewart said. “For a lot of kids, we come from different parts of the community. We’re coming from the far west side of Indianapolis, south, north, east side. We’re coming from all over, so it doesn’t really matter who gives to us because they are always contributing to someone from their community.”
The total cost of about $42,000 will go to ensuring all 54 members of the choir can make the trip. The choirs will leave for Orlando March 31 and return April 5.
“The excitement we have is second only to our appreciation for Mr. Irsay and all the other generous people in our community who have supported us,” Hartshorn said.