After N.Y. trip canceled, community helps Hempstead students go - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

After N.Y. trip canceled, community helps Hempstead students go

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It's a trip of a lifetime that almost didn't happen for 34 eastern Iowa high school students. But on Sunday afternoon, students from Hempstead High School's music department made their way back to Dubuque from New York. It's a trip of a lifetime that almost didn't happen for 34 eastern Iowa high school students. But on Sunday afternoon, students from Hempstead High School's music department made their way back to Dubuque from New York.
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

It's a trip of a lifetime that almost didn't happen for 34 eastern Iowa high school students.

But on Sunday afternoon, students from Hempstead High School's music department made their way back to Dubuque from New York.

In early May, the trip was canceled after their Cedar Rapids-based travel agent, Integrity Travel, suddenly closed. The school was forced to cancel the music department's trip after losing almost $30,000.

Dean Beresford's son Tracey is a freshman at Hempstead High School and an active member in the music department.

"His talents lie in just about anything artistic, and mostly his voice," Beresford said.

Tracey was upset when he found out the trip had been called off.

"It was pretty devastating for him in particular, and as the parents got together, I was really surprised at becoming aware of just how many people wouldn't be able to make other arraignments or try to help in any additional way," Beresford said. "I heard stories about kids who had raised money by shoveling walks (and) baby-sitting, and there was just no way that they could kind of recover from that finical loss."

It was equally as upsetting for Hempstead High School music teacher David Patterson.

"It didn't feel very good," Patterson said. "We have been to New York a number of times and we know what is there and the opportunities for our students, and I think those of us who had been there before probably felt a greater impact from not going then students."

That's when the community stepped up.

Local travel agents helped donate to the school. Star Destinations and Windstar Travel granted the school a discount on transportation costs, while Worldstrides paid for all meals and tickets to events for the students.

Along with the agencies, an anonymous donation of $13,000 allowed the school to go forward with the trip.

"One of the things we did today was have all of our students write thank-you notes to all of these groups that contributed, and one of the things that I mentioned in my thank-you was what a life lesson that taught these students about stepping forward and helping out when the need is there," Patterson said.

"I think I cried a little," Tracey Beresford said. "It was just amazing. I wrote a letter to all the people that helped it come together again and it was just amazing. They are amazing."

During the five-day trip, students were able to see different music events including the Broadway show "Newsies." The students were also able to see Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall.

The trip inspired Tracey Beresford.

"After 'Newsies,' a couple of the staff members came out and they were talking and I was pretty inspired," he said. "I think I was the first person in the entire theater to stand up. I was crazy."

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