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Village of Germantown — A trip to Italy that took two years of planning left 68 parents, staff and band students from Germantown High School stranded in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Dec. 27.

The marching band students were one of five groups set to perform in Rome during the New Year’s Day parade, but the school’s band director Jon Bell said American Airlines delayed the flight repeatedly until it was cancelled at 2 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28.

On Thursday, Dec. 29, the group boarded a bus from Philadelphia to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, a two-three hour drive, departed for Rome at 9 a.m., and finally arrived to their destination at midnight.

"I feel badly for the kids who were not able to make it on time and appreciate the help local media has offered in contacting American Airlines, as well,” said Germantown High School Principal Joel Farren. "So many people put a ton of work into it. It is a reminder that even with all of the outstanding planning, some things happen out of our control."

According to Farren, mechanical issues prevented the flight from leaving at its scheduled time.

The delayed group was part of the third flight bound for Rome.

“From the communications that Mr. Bell sent out to me and other district administrators, the students and chaperones have been outstanding and the hotel really helped to alleviate the situation,” Farren said. “We anticipate the safe arrival of the final group and hope they are able to experience what the other groups did in terms of tours and cultural events. Special thanks to Mr. Bell and the adults there, who have done an outstanding job through this challenging time. The kids are in great hands with those adults who are on that flight."

Farren said the group would not miss out on any scheduled performances. The entire group will return to Germantown at night on Jan. 3.

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