Las Vegas middle school mariachi band gets stranded in Omaha for Christmas

Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 6:40 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - It was a happy and exciting time for the Mariachi Azul students from Fremont middle school in Las Vegas as they were headed to Chicago for the Midwest clinic, one of the biggest mariachi music conferences.

“The clinic went fantastic the kids did great,” said chaperone Julia Avila.

It was great until it was time to return home in time for Christmas.

The holiday weather left these 19 students and some chaperones stranded at their layover destination on Dec. 22.

“We did get out of Chicago in time but that is how we got stuck in Omaha,” said Avila.

With no travel plans to be in Omaha chaperones Julie Avila and Jazlique Hernandez amongst others had to scramble quickly.

“These kids need somewhere warm to sleep tonight,” said Avila. “I will just go and charge it up on my card, it is fine. I needed to make sure they were in a hotel and somewhere safe.”

The church network quickly came to the rescue. Churches in Vegas found out about the group being stranded and reached out to churches in Omaha.

“Christmas was fantastic,” said Avila. “We had two groups come out to us and they brought homemade Christmas dinner to us.”

One of the churches in Omaha gave all the kids Christmas cards with money to help them replace items that were lost in their luggage and to buy Christmas gifts.

“We went to Walmart and the kids and the kids just shopped and bought whatever they wanted and I made sure they bought necessities first,” said Avila.

Seven students and two chaperones returned to Vegas Monday morning, nine are scheduled to get on a flight Monday night, leaving six people in Omaha who aren’t scheduled to leave until Thursday.

“I am one of the ones staying behind because I need to make sure the kids get home first,” said Avila.

CCSD sent this statement: “CCSD has worked with school administration to make arrangements for students, chaperones and staff impacted by the travel delays across the country. Superintendent Jara has been in direct contact with the Fremont Middle School group and District leadership is exploring all opportunities to get the students, chaperones and staff home as soon as possible.”