SANTA PAULA ( — The marching band at Santa Paula High School is at a loss after someone stole the $17,000 they saved up for a national competition.

The award-winning band has been raising money since August to compete and get ranked nationally during the San Francisco Heritage Festival, which takes place May 16-18.

“We’ve done car washes, donations, going out and selling ads,” Lily Marquez said.

Last week, the band discovered that the money they raised was missing.

Police believe someone associated with the booster club may have embezzled the funds.

“I was devastated at first. And then angry. And then really heartbroken when we had to announce that to the students,” Jerry Cruz, the assistant band director, said.

The students, however, aren’t letting the theft end their tour on a sour note.

With donations from the community, the marching band is determined to make their town proud.

“We want to go out there, we want to succeed and show the world what we can do,” Marquez said.

If you’d like to make a donation, please call the Santa Paula Police Department.


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