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How much? Anonymous $8,000 donation will help Park High School finance theater trip

Now, this is drama.

During a routine Tuesday morning training session, Park English teacher and theater advisor Emily Ball opened an envelope she’d found in her mailbox.

She began jumping up and down, colleague and fellow English teacher Tracy Caponigri recalled. 

But when Ball showed her the contents of the envelope, it was Caponigri's turn to do the fandango.

An $8,000 check tends to have that effect.

"It was very, very exciting," Caponigri recalled.

The sender, who wished to remain anonymous, indicated that the donation was to help pay for Park’s upcoming trip to the International Thespian Festival. The festival runs every June at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“We’re going to the Thespian festival anonymously,” Caponigri joked.

The 17 Park students in the cast have been busy raising the necessary $15,000 for the trip. In February, they were chosen to represent Minnesota on the strength of their performance of “Come Back” during the finals of Minnesota State High School League One-Act Play Competition.

But the honor came at a price: It costs $850 per student to attend the annual weeklong festival, which draws thousands of high school performers from around the country. The tab includes the registration fee, room and board and transportation.

Caponigri and Ball said they’ve been thrilled at how much support they’ve received from the community. Donations have ranged from $5 to $2,000, they said.

The $8,000 windfall brings their fund to $13,000, Caponigri said. They're as good as there.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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