Haley-fueled Ford day nets Wheeling H.S. $10,000

Wheeling High School had a “fantastic” turnout May 14 for its Ford Motor Company-sponsored “Drive One 4UR School” fundraiser for the school's music programs.

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$In conjunction with “American Idol” top three finalist Haley Reinhart's hometown visit to the school, Ford offered a $20 donation to the music programs for every person age 18 and older who test drove one of the Ford vehicles. The event was filmed by the Ford production teams that produce the “Idol”-Ford commercials and videos. $PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

In the middle of the event, Reinhart, Wheeling Class of 2009, made an appearance and spoke to hundreds of supporters in the gym. She also made a surprise visit to see Band Director Brian Logan during percussion/drum line practice. Reinhart was a soloist for the school's Jazz Band 1 during her years at Wheeling.

She delivered an inspirational speech to her supporters, and thrilled the students and parents who gathered to support her.

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$After Reinhart's appearance she continued on with her jam-packed day. Test drives were halted during her visit, and later resumed. The general manager of Arlington Heights Ford was concerned that all who wanted to test drive and support W.H.S. be able to do so before the event ended. The General Manager chose to bring additional vehicles to ensure that all test drives were completed. At the end of the event, Ford announced that they were so impressed with the school's enthusiastic turnout and energy of the school administrators and volunteers, that they promised to grant the entire $10,000 donation. $PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

“Wheeling High School is overwhelmed by Ford's generosity,” Logan said. “The event was a fantastic experience for all involved.”

Band parents Kathy Schmid and Beth Anne Ausnehmer quickly coordinated volunteers for the event, with little advance planning time.

Logan, Schmid and Ausnehmer jointly said they are grateful for all the parents, students, administrators and staff who came together on such short notice to make this event such a success.

$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$“Their dedication to W.H.S. and its music programs is inspiring,” the three said in a joint statement. “All of the parent and community supporters who came out in inclement weather to test drive Fords and support Haley are to be thanked as well.”$PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$

Following the Ford test-drive event, the marching band and color guard performed in Reinharts's “American Idol” Hometown Parade with great community support, despite the dreary spring weather.