It was dark outside when they woke up this morning, but their smiles were bright as the 12 members of the Annapolis Middle School Dance Company stood in BWI Airport at 7 a.m.
Today is a travel day for the dancers who will participate in the half-time show of the Discover Orange Bowl in Miami Gardens, FL, that will air on national television (ESPN) at 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2011. They'll be dancing during a live performance by the Goo Goo Dolls.
"I'm so psyched," said Anne Lillefloren, 13, clutching a stuffed giraffe. "I couldn't go to sleep ... then, I couldn't wake up this morning."
All of the students were excited as they prepared for their 9 a.m. flight to Fort Lauderdale, FL. Tonight, the dancers will celebrate New Year's Eve with other performers at a pizza and dance party with a disc jockey. Then, the dancers will endure many hours of rehearsals leading up to the performance on Monday night. They'll return to Annapolis on Jan. 4.
Greater Annapolis Patch will bring you all the details of the dancers' trip via contributor Julie L. Kizer Ball, who is the mother of Annapolis High freshman, Mary Virginia, and a chaperone for the group.
Kizer Ball was first interviewed by Patch back in September when the dancers weren't sure they'd be able to raise the $18,000 needed for the trip. Through the tireless efforts of the students and parents who organized many fundraisers, the dance company received several thousand dollars worth of donations from the community — including a check from the city of Annapolis.
"Finally, our dream is coming true," said Kendra Smith, AMS dance teacher. "I am so proud ... [and appreciate] the support and hard work of everyone because this wouldn't have happened otherwise."
AMS Principal Monique Jackson, who was at the airport with her son and nephew, echoed Smith's sentiments.
"I'm extremely proud of the students," said Jackson, who said that she wanted to see them off and wish them good luck.
Jackson also expressed appreciation to the parents, Smith, AMS teacher Christina Shimko (who is a chaperone) and the entire Annapolis community for coming together to support the students.
"I can't believe it's actually going to happen," said Kiki Jojic, 13.
At the time this article was posted, the dancers had just landed safely in Florida.
Look for updates later on Patch to check in and see what the dancers are doing.