A Krum High School junior is in New York City, ready to participate in the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a performer in the 267-member Macy’s Great American Marching Band.
Valeria Ibarra, a trumpet player, is believed to be the first from Krum invited to participate in the parade. Ibarra is one of 22 performers in the band representing Texas, according to Macy’s officials.
More than an estimated 3.5 million people are expected to line Thursday’s parade route, and an estimated 50 million are expected to watch the event on television, according to a Macy’s press release.
“I’m definitely ready,” Ibarra said last week. “I’m ready for the experience.”
Ibarra, along with her mother and younger sister, boarded a flight for New York last Friday. Rehearsals for the parade were expected to begin Sunday.
To fund her participation in the band and travel expenses, Ibarra sold homemade salsa for $5 a jar. Over the summer, she set out to earn $1,500 by Oct. 13. Instead, nearly 700 jars were sold and more than $3,000 was raised, she said.
“I feel very accomplished,” she said. “I feel like I can do anything. If I set my mind to it … I can pretty much accomplish any tasks or goals I set my mind to.”
It was a tall order, her mother, Priscilla Ibarra, said.
“I can honestly say I didn’t think she was going to make it,” she said. “And she kept saying, ‘Mom, don’t save me yet, just wait.’ She would say, ‘God’s going to provide. Just wait. Just wait.’
“God provided above and beyond the goal she had set for herself.”
Priscilla Ibarra said she’s excited that her daughter will “experience so many things being so young.” She said Valeria has inspired a lot of other children her age “to want to work hard and not be afraid to conquer the world.”
Sales for the salsa have continued.
Valeria Ibarra has since given her salsa a name, “Val’s Sassy Salsa,” and during November and December she will sell the salsa to assist a 5-year-old Lake Dallas boy who has been diagnosed with leukemia. For more information on the child she is helping, visit www.facebook.com/PrayingForCarsonAndMommy.
The goal for the future, Priscilla Ibarra said, is to continue selling the salsa and use the money raised to support scholarships for high school seniors.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air at 8 a.m. Thursday on KXAS-TV (Channel 5).
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.