Published 10:51 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IRONTON — The city that never sleeps will be entertaining some eager guests from southern Ohio early next month.

The Ironton High School Guard will take the trip of their young lives as they descend on New York City as the special guests of one of the city’s most iconic attractions — the world-famous Rockettes.

The three-day bus trip, scheduled for Dec. 3-5, will have 16 students along with coaches and parents absorbing the sights and culture of New York City while getting up close with the well-known precision dance company at their home base of Radio City Music Hall.

Email newsletter signup

Personally invited by the Rockettes to spend a day observing their training and dance regimen, the IHS Guard will have the opportunity to practice with the troupe for up to three hours while also having the chance to ask questions, obtain autographs and tour the historic entertainment venue located at the corner of 50th Street and Avenue of the Americas at Rockefeller Center.

While in New York, students will have the opportunity to witness the Rockettes in their Annual Spectacular along with seeing a “to-be-determined” Broadway show.

“They are thoroughly excited. It’s a unique opportunity,” assistant coach Valerie Freeman said. “This is going to be both an educational and fun experience for the kids.”

Coached and choreographed by Patty Freeman and assisted by Angela Malone, the IHS Guard has been a favorite at Ironton High School events for decades.

In getting the opportunity to travel to New York City though, guard members had to come up with their own means of getting there.

In order to raise the $550 each student needed to attend the trip, guard members conducted 11 fundraisers in order to get the funds needed. The girls held events such as a pancake breakfast at Rax, Avon sales with representative Beth Johnson, weekly bakes sales at Ironton Elementary School and the Lawrence County Courthouse and basket raffles.

“The community, along with the parents of each of the students, has been awesome in supporting this trip,” Freeman said.

The three coaches are to thank as well.

Freeman said they solicited donations from more than 50 local businesses along with donating and reselling items from their businesses, “Treasures From The Valley” and “Sunshine Baskets” in order to raise the $5,000 needed to rent the charter bus for the trip.

“That was our gift to the guard,” Freeman said in raising the money for the bus.

It was a wise choice. There isn’t a better way to see the “Capital of the World.”