LEESBURG, Fla. — Students who attend Leesburg High School will see a familiar face on national TV this Thanksgiving. One of their own will lead the Macy's Great American Marching Band in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It's a huge honor for high school senior Timothy Rodriquez.

  • Macy's only picks 2 students out of hundreds to lead its band
  • Timothy Rodriquez is a senior at Leesburg High School
  • He says the community helped him raise over $3,000 for the trip

Leading his high school band has become second nature for Timothy Rodriquez. He's been chosen by his peers to be the school's drum major two years in a row, but his biggest accomplishment to date comes on Thanksgiving Day.

“I was dumbfounded. I didn't know what to think,” said Rodriquez.

Tim's big break was attending the prestigious “Smith Walbridge Clinic” in Illinois. That's where Macy's officials go to handpick musicians. Last year, Tim got picked to perform as a clarinetist.

Hundreds apply to be drum major for the Macy's Grand American Marching Band every year, but only two students get the honor.

“What an achievement for somebody so young,” said Gabriel Fielder, the band director for Leesburg High School.

Fielder said he saw great promise from Timothy early on.

“He has an incredible work ethic in the things he's passionate about.”

Not surprisingly, Tim's dream is to have a career in music. He's been accepted to Florida State University and would one day like to be a band director.

“Even if you come from a small community in Leesburg, you can do great things and be on the national stage,” said Rodriquez.

Speaking of community, Tim could not even get to New York City without the help of his.

After he was chosen, Tim started a GoFundMe to raise money for the trip, with a goal of $3,000. But after word got out, someone donated $2,500, and Tim was able to reach his goal the first day.

Ultimately the fundraiser reached over $3,400, and Rodriquez says the extra money will be used to fund a band trip to Tennessee. 

Tim thanked the community for its support. He especially wants to thank the person who helped so much, but they haven't been able to find her.

"The individual's name was Gail Wall (sic) and we still haven't been able to identify who the individual is," Tim said. "So if anybody could, you know, if that name sounds familiar, it would be great to be able to thank them for their generous donation."