Meridian students sing to the top

Posted at 9:31 AM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 10:51:16-05
Some Meridian students are singing their way to the top. 
Choir students at Sawtooth Middle School are traveling to take part in two prestigious honor choirs, and the young singers are talented.
"It just makes my whole day better coming into this class, " said eighth-grader Grace Burgess.  
"When we're singing really, really well, you get this feeling like, oh my gosh," said seventh-grade student Cameron Keeler.
The sixth, seventh and eighth-graders are being recognized for their singing skills. 21 kids are headed to Pocatello this week, invited to the All-State Honor Choir, and 10 kids move on to Seattle in March, for the All Northwest Honor Choir.
"When I signed these kids up, normally you only get one or two kids that make it into All Northwest. We're talking Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. These are kids from all of these states. But we have 10 and that's unheard of," said choir teacher Liz Batey.
Students auditioned individually and each were selected to join the best student singers in the state. Now they are working overtime to prepare. Rehearsing on their own time before school, during lunch, after school, weekends and holidays. Batey has even recorded herself singing each student's part, so they can practice at home.
Sawtooth Middle School didn't have school on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but the choir students still met to practice. Batey says they will do the same on President's Day.  
"It's an all day, everyday kind of thing until we get it," Batey said.
It takes dedication, but they sing because they love it.
"My philosophy is, it doesn't really matter if you're good at it. Singing is one of those things everybody should enjoy. We're all just working to get better no matter where we are at. I call us a family, and with the girls our saying is we're sisters in song. We build each other up," Batey said.
The trips to Pocatello and Seattle are costing these students about $25,000 total to attend. They have been busy fundraising, and could still use help. If you would like to donate, contact the West Ada School District, at (208) 855-4500.
The following Sawtooth Middle School students were selected to participate:
All-State Honor Choir -- Sasha Beres, Emma Burch, Grace Burgess, Julia Butikofer, Makayla Campbell, Ashley Capell, Alexis Coltrin, Mialee Connors, Anthony Cukurs, Avery Edwards, Courtney Gould, Maggie Hileman, Mikaela Hincy, Cameron Keeler, Allie Leigh, Grace Miller, Stacia Putnam, Abram Shipley, Brandon Stafford, Nicali Terrell, Brynn Wheeler
All Northwest -- Sasha Beres, Courtney Gould, Johnny Hanks, Mikaela Hincy, Cameron Keeler, Sophia Lind, Abram Shipley, Linkin Skinner, Brandon Stafford, Aleah Tilby