Last week we told you about a group of fifth graders in Southport: a thief took the money the class had saved and admission tickets for a trip to Williamsburg and Busch Gardens. School administrators say our coverage of the theft led to an outpouring of support from the community and beyond. At Southport Christian School, these young faces are bright again. Fifth-grader Ashleigh Mitchell said, "I'm like, wow, it's my time to go to Bush Gardens and Williamsburg and Jamestown and York Towne and…" The trip was up in the air last Wednesday -- when school officials found nearly $10,000 in cash and merchandise for the fifth grade trip had been taken. Since then, the community has come to their rescue. Principal Lisa Kjome said, "We had business people from Wilmington, even here in Southport just stopping by, wanting an envelope with our address." They've already raised $6,000. First-grader Andrew Steele saved up his allowance so he could contribute to the cause. He said, "Because I cared for them." Fifth-grader John Hamilton said, "I was like, wow! I can't believe that many people are helping the school." Of course the children were disappointed that their money was stolen. But in the end, they all learned a valuable lesson. Ashleigh said, "I've learned that someone small can do something really big and to stay positive." Kjome said, "I think it's an experience they're going to remember the rest of their lives. When they leave, it's not the fact, oh we were stolen but how the community all stepped up together and supported them." A lesson best learned sooner rather than later. And still more good news for the students. After seeing the story on our web site, Busch Gardens came forward today and said they are sending tickets to the school for each child, free of charge. And a senior manager of colonial Williamsburg said they will cover the cost of a meal for the fifth graders. The school is having a fundraiser tonight at the Southport community building. What: Spaghetti Dinner Where: Southport Community Building When: 5:30-7:30 pm Open to Public. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
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