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Oklahoma high school scammed out of Orlando senior trip; the Ozarks steps up

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 9:56 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Some Oklahoma high school graduates are vacationing in the Ozarks.

The problem is they paid money to be in Orlando. But when they showed up at the Springfield airport, they discovered they had fallen victim to a scam.

Those 40 students and chaperones have gotten over the initial shock and say they’re making the most of their time here in the Ozarks.

Brenda Taylor is the superintendent of the Oklahoma Union Public School District. She’s also a parent to a senior on the trip.

”We truly are a family and so to look at them and to say that we weren’t going to go was hard,” Taylor says.

The students raised money all year long to fly to Florida to celebrate graduation.

“They googled allegiant airlines, got a number there, called and started talking to a person there who represented themselves as allegiant airlines reservation desk. The communication started at that point for about 10 or 12 weeks,” Taylor says.

However, the airline told them there was no group reservation when they arrived at the airport.

Of the 40 airline tickets they were supposed to have, there were only 28 booked.

After all of their hard work, senior Julia Barron tells me it was disappointing to hear.

“We kind of have come together as a class to get to have this huge goal that we dreamed of, and it was taken away from us,” Barron says.

Despite the turn of events, they decided to stay in the Ozarks and make the most of it. They spent the day at Wonders of Wildlife in Springfield on Wednesday. They spent the entire day at Silver Dollar City Thursday. The attractions donated the tickets.

“We don’t live here,” Barron says. “I mean we’re from Oklahoma, so when we came here and decided to stay in Branson, we just started receiving support from all different kinds of places, and it was amazing to experience the kind of love that they really have shown us.”

And it may not be the trip they had in mind.

“We’ve actually had some kids say it’s better than Disney World, so I think we’re having a great time,” Barron says.

Taylor says the senior class spent nearly $11,000 on the trip, some of that now a total loss.

“They knew that something was wrong, so they took our numbers that we had been using to communicate with the reservation desk, and they were able to look into their system and find out that it indeed was a scam,” Taylor says.

Taylor says they’re working with Allegiant to try to get refunds or vouchers for the 28 tickets they did have reserved.

The other 12 tickets are a complete loss.

On Friday, the students are looking forward to spending the day at Dogwood Canyon.

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