ALBERTVILLE, Ala. -- A Marshall County business surprised 16 Albertville students with the money to go as part of the Albertville Aggie Band to march in the 2018 Rose Parade.
The loudspeaker ripped through the quiet halls of Albertville High School, calling the Aggie Band members to the band room for an announcement. As they filed in they crowd the room, filling rows, so eventually, the entire room was taken up.
Banners, pictures, and trophies decorate the large space, depicting past awards and performances. In a few months the band will have another addition. The 200 plus students will represent Alabama in the 2018 Rose Parade.
They're fundraising now, because it won't be cheap. The community support though, is - as they put it - overwhelming.
Monday morning they got another surprise from Albertville Quality Foods.
"We have 11 parents, who have between them, 16 of you in this Aggie Band," Albertville Quality Foods Vice President Human Resources Linda Smith said to the crowd, "We know you're trying to raise money so what the company has decided to do is make it possible for the 16 students who are sons and daughters of our employees to go on this trip."
As each student's name was called, the room erupted in cheers.
"It means a lot coming from a family that has sometimes economic problems, and I feel like all of the other 15 of us are just really happy and blessed," said freshman Aggie Band member Miko Simon.
"We also believe in our community and we think this is a great way to give back to the school and the community," Smith said.
Albertville Quality Foods donated a little more than $30,000. Earlier, the local legislative delegation also donated money to help the band make the trip.
This is the second time the band has been asked to attend the Rose Parade. The Aggie Band is the only high school band from the southeast to be selected, and one of ten high school bands in the nation.
"Now the community has an opportunity to give back to them and help them get to Pasadena, because they're representing Albertville," said Tournament of Roses Association president Lance Tibbet.
"I just can't wait for this experience," Simon said, "It will probably be a once in a lifetime experience."