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Canyon High choir out $6K in trip money

Travel agency's bankruptcy leaves kids without meal money

Posted: March 27, 2009 1:36 a.m.
Updated: March 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Javier Macias delivers boxes of UV Vodka to Kwik Stop Liquor Store in Saugus Wednesday afternoon. Off-brand alcohol is becoming more popular as people look for ways to cut costs.

A travel agency's bankruptcy has left 58 Canyon High School choir students without meal money for their trip to Hawaii next week.

"It's really frustrating," said Mary Purdy, director of the Canyon High choir. "My hands are tied. There's nothing I can do."

The check for $6,100 is tied up in bankruptcy proceedings, Purdy said Thursday.

The group of high school students, who leave Wednesday, will represent California during Hawaii's 50th anniversary of statehood celebrations.

The students will perform at Pearl Harbor and the state Capitol building, Purdy said.

The choir group initially booked its week-long Hawaii trip in August, when gasoline prices were skyrocketing past the $4 mark and airline ticket prices were on the upswing, Purdy said.

"I've never paid that much to go to Hawaii," she said.

Once ticket prices dipped, Purdy decided to make the switch to a different airline and save thousands of dollars for students and their families.

While the original airline refunded the choir group's ticket prices, the check went to the travel agency the choir group had used. But the agency went bankrupt in January without passing the refund to students, Purdy said.

"We're waiting for someone to release the check," Purdy said.

Families had already put up $1,750 to send each choir member on the annual tour.

"We feel really bad. They worked really hard. It's not anyone's fault," said Christina Bub, parent of a Canyon choir student going on the trip.

"I've been to Hawaii and food is not cheap there."

She expects many students will be eating in fast-food restaurants.

Bub plans to pack her daughter's suitcase full of snacks for her daughter and roommates.

Senior Dylan Ludwick, 17, is looking forward to his first trip to Hawaii, but the choir's $6,100 loss is tough for everyone.

"It's kind of a bummer," Ludwick said.

While Ludwick said he's OK financially, he is willing to take some of his close friends out to dinner in Hawaii.

Junior Garrett Cervetto said he's been trying to pay for as much of the trip he can without asking his family for help or dipping into his college fund.

But dining at McDonald's for dinner shouldn't take away from a trip to Hawaii, he said.

"It's the whole beauty of the island that really matters," Cervetto said. "It's the fact that you're in this beautiful paradise."



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