Evans High School sophomore Kevin Golden had a 16th birthday he'll not soon forget.
"When I woke up, my mom told me 'happy birthday,' then we packed a lot of clothes," said Kevin, who plays the French horn and mellophone in the Knights band.
He spent the rest of the day on a bus and plane as one of 227 students and parents from Evans High School traveling to London to march in the London Parade on New Year's Day.
The group departed for Atlanta Hartsfield Airport on five buses at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Their instruments had arrived the previous Thursday at the airport, where many were hand-inspected and X-rayed before being loaded, director Richard Brasco said.
The group will return Wednesday.
Security concerns did little to diminish the numbers traveling to London. Two hundred thirty-four people signed up for the trip, and only seven backed out, Brasco said.
The Columbia County Board of Education required parents to sign a waiver releasing the board from responsibility.
But most parents felt that the benefits of the trip outweighed the risks.
"I talked with him about it and he felt strongly about it and I supported his decision," said Greg Hickey, who came to school to see his son Nickolas leave.
This will be the third time the band has marched in the London Parade, which begins at noon on New Year's Day.
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