The Highland Park High School theatre students, led by teacher Scott Kickhaefer, departed for Edinburgh, Scotland bright and early this morning.
The seven students will be performing their play, "Play it Til We Get it Right" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world's largest performing arts festival. After months of fundraising efforts, and a last-minute $10,000 donation by an anonymous supporter, the students finally raised the $65,000 needed to make the two-week trip.
This morning was filled hugs and smiles, and a few nervous tears, as the students prepared to depart. Cynthia Gross, who will be a junior this year, said she is most excited about "all the great things we're going to find over there. There's a lot of culture and history in Scotland. It's going to be amazing!"
Recent HPHS grad Corey Jackson said this will be his first time flying and his first time to see the ocean. He is happy to be going with this tight-nit group because, he said, "We're like a family."
Janet Reed, whose son Elijah Reed is Scotland-bound, said she's not nervous at all for Elijah, also a recent HPHS grad who is headed to Washburn University in the fall. "He's a big boy and he can handle it!"
Dr. Beryl New, principal of Highland Park, is also excited for the students. "It's a trip of a lifetime for the kids to go to Scotland and perform. I'm sure it's a dream come true for them."
Many local media outlets were on hand to document the send-off, while the students' parents took pictures and gave their good bye hugs.
It is sure to be a magical trip for these students, one that they won't soon forget, and we here at Topeka Public Schools wish them the best on their journey. Have fun, kids!