ARLINGTON — The rowdy sendoff was just about perfect.
Fellow students lined the hallways, clapping and screaming, as 14 members of the step team from Arlington ISD’s Goodman Elementary School paraded out the doors at Wednesday dismissal.
The kids were giddy as they headed home to pack up and return to campus for their after-dark departure to the upper Midwest.
The students were heading to Chicago, and few of them have never before left Texas.
The step team — made up of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders — was invited to a national competition. But Goodman is a low-income school, and parents couldn’t afford to pay for the trip.
But after News 8 aired a story about their plight, viewers came forward and donated. Expenses were covered, and there was even some money left over for better uniforms and props.
“It means a lot,” said sponsor Geri Levengood. “These kids work hard... they deserve it!”
Fifth-grader Perla Velazquez agreed, saying the trip is “a lot exciting,” and adding: "Most of us have never been out of town. We’ve been practicing, a lot and we deserve it!”
The youngsters all expressed sincere gratitude to the donors who funded the trip. At 9:30 p.m., parents said their final goodbyes and the bus pulled away from campus. They expect to arrive in Chicago Friday morning.
The step team competes on Saturday, and will return to school on Tuesday morning.