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ALLSTON, Mass. — A school for the deaf has been gifted more than $50,000 after being disqualified from a contest to win a performance by Taylor Swift because Internet pranksters united to vote the school to first place.
Users of websites 4chan and Reddit voted the Horace Mann School for the Deaf to first place in a Papa John's and Chegg-sponsored contest that would have sent Swift to perform at whichever school received the most votes on Facebook.
Some of the votes came from the pranksters, while others came from people who disliked the spirit behind the move, but voted for the school anyway, in hopes that the students would get to see Swift.
A Quincy, Mass., teen even created an anti-cyber-bullying video in the hopes of helping the school win the contest through legitimate votes, according to the Patriot Ledger.
"Just because you can hear doesn't always mean you do hear," Nancy Aimola, 14, said of the bullies.
Horace Mann is the oldest public day school for the deaf and hard of hearing in the U.S.
Founded in 1869, the school was associated with well-known American figures including Alexander Graham Bell, who was one of the school's first teachers, and Hellen Keller, who learned to speak at Horace Mann.
The school serves students from birth through age 22.
Horace Mann's principal, Jeremiah Ford, confirmed Monday to the Boston Globe that the school ahd been disqualified from the contest due to the manner in which the votes were received, but that Swift had decided to donate $10,000 to the school, which was met by like donations from Chegg, Papa John's, Cover Girl and American Greetings.
Additionally, Swift said every student would receive tickets to her next local show, and VH1's Save the Music program donated $10,000 in instruments to the school.
Ford had previously said his students love live music and that he would be happy if they won, regardless of where the votes originated. But what happened instead was even better.
"Are we the winner? Absolutely," Ford told the Globe.