BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The Bay St. Louis woman accused of stealing money from the Bay High School Tigers Marching Band will go to court for a preliminary hearing August 21st. Authorities say Kimberly Luxich, who was the treasurer of the Band's Booster Club, is charged with embezzling $12,000 of the club's money. That money was supposed to be used to take the band to Disney World to perform in April.
WLOX spoke with two recent Bay High graduates and former band members for their reaction to the news that sent shock waves through the community.
Jesse Hoda played the saxophone for the middle school and high school bands for five years. He still can't believe someone would steal from students.
"I feel really bad for them because I'm really good friends with a lot of them. To know they won't be able to do something like this is pretty upsetting. I think they are pretty heart broken," said Hoda.
Hoda and his mother both took the trip to Disney World when he was part of the marching band. He said it was an experience he will never forget.
"It's important because it's something some of them have never experienced before and you perform for so many people in the streets of Disney. To be able to march in the parade, it's pretty fun. It's like an experience of a lifetime."
His mother, Hollie Carpenter, agreed.
"It was one of the proudest moments in my life to see him marching in Disney. When they say it's the most wonderful place on earth, they're not lying. I'm very heart broken. I would love for them to experience what we did down in Disney."
The students work hard year round to raise the money to go on the trip.
Former Bay High band member Chris Phillips expressed his disappointment.
"I know it's a lot of work selling chocolate, the main thing I did. I mean, you just work and work to sell and just raise the money and have it to just disappear and have your time not matter."
"It's a lot of time, a lot of weekends spent," Hoda said. "On Second Saturdays, the drum line goes down and performs for hours. They do can shakes at Walmart."
"They work together as a team. It teaches them from an early start to work as a team for their goals in life," explained Carpenter.
She said some of the students have waited more than five years to go on the Disney trip, and it's a shame that might not happen. For many, the opportunity may never come again. She's hoping the community will come together and help.
The band only has about a month to recoup what was taken from it. Although the trip is scheduled for April, the money to secure the charter buses for the trip is due in September.
"I really do think it's possible, everything is possible if you try hard enough and our band will definitely try their best to get that money back," said Phillips.
A new round of fund raisers is already being planned. There will be a car wash on Saturday August 17th at the Waveland Walgreens from 10am until 2pm. If you'd like to make a donation to the students' cause, you're asked to contact the school at (228) 467-6621.