Bound for Dublin: Fort Mill Band exceeds donations for Ireland trip

joverman@fortmilltimes.comFebruary 8, 2013 

— Thanks to a donation from Allen Tate, the Fort Mill High School Marching Band has reached – and exceeded – its fundraising goal for the Dollars for Dublin campaign.

The donation put the band over its goal of $115,000 for a trip to Dublin, Ireland, where it will perform in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

The Fort Mill/Tega Cay branch of Allen Tate Realtors recently presented the band with a check for $4,090 – proceeds from its annual FUNDay event at the Anne Springs Close Dairy Barn. That brings the total raised to $118,101. The band performed at FUNDay and was designated to receive a portion of the proceeds.

“This is a success story for our entire community of business and individual donors,” band staff member and FMHS English teacher Jason Ford said.

The band boosters, staff and students have been hard at work for more than a year raising money for the trip. They’ve spent weekends raking yards and collected more than 100,000 pounds of scrap metal in a “Scrap to Gold” drive.

A holiday crafts show as well as a partnership with Carolina Crown to host FirstBEAT, a drum corps event, have helped the band close in on its goal. Several large corporate sponsorships have also smoothed the way, including Allen Tate, Coca-Cola, Smarter Systems and Domtar Paper.

“With a lot of help from our friends, we raked, baked, wrapped, and scrapped our way to the finish line. I couldn’t be happier that we not only reached but surpassed such a lofty goal,” said Fort Mill Band Booster Club President Dawn Rackley.

The band has a few fundraisers left, including a Mardi Gras Jazz Night on Tuesday at the Glennon Center.

Any money raised beyond the original goal will go toward the cost of shipping the uniforms and instruments and reducing out-of-pocket meal costs for students.

Scrap metal collection continues through May, with proceeds going to the band’s operating budget.

Now that fundraising is nearly complete, the students can focus on next month’s trip.

“What really excites me is what this trip will do for more than 150 students,” Rackley said.

“They have so many important choices ahead of them. An experience like this Ireland trip will help them dream a little bigger and raise the bar on what they believe is possible to achieve. You can’t put a price tag on that.”

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