JESUP, GA (WTOC) - Update: There is a happy ending to a story we brought you about a Senior trip stolen out from under the Wayne County High School Class of 2018.
The money paid by more than 60 seniors for a cruise is still missing, but private sponsors came through in a crunch to raise the $31,000 needed to get dozens of students on board the ship next week. As for where the missing money is, the case remains part of a GBI investigation.
High school graduation should be a time to celebrate, and thousands of students go on trips with classmates to cap off the end of an era. However, this graduation season isn't going as planned for many Wayne County High School seniors and their parents.
The Senior class trip many have already paid for may now not happen as promised.
Jason Weaver and other parents tell us they started meeting and paying for the seniors' trip back in August. One parent offered to collect the money and make arrangements through the cruise line. Just last week, cancellation notices started to come out for nonpayment. That parent is now in the hospital so the parents and students aren't getting answers and time is running out with the cruise now only 10 days away.
"We're trying to compile a list together of who is confirmed, who is not confirmed, and who thinks they're confirmed. In reality, it's not the perfect end because all these children that are left behind when this boat sails out Sunday - that's the disaster side of the story."
It's important to note this is not connected to Wayne County High School or any school officials. It's parent-organized and has been for years, but days ago, they learned only a few of the seniors have spots on the boat and they're running out of time to make another plan.
Several folks have stepped forward and offered to sponsor one or more student who paid their money but have no spot on the cruise. They've established a bank account in town for those donations.
Vaden Automotive donated $2,500 to the fund.
"I can only imagine how disappointed those kids are that they may not get to do their senior trip so we felt like getting involved with that community and those students could really make a difference, and it's something we could impact quickly," said Jane Vaden Thatcher, Owner.
"I'm not worried about the why's and what-for's right now," said parent, Gail Moore. I just want to get as many of these kids as possible on that boat."
We've been speaking with police and the GBI. They tell us they're investigating the parent. No charges have been filed at this point. Meanwhile, parents are still trying to figure out what to do.