CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Around 500 middle and high school students from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools were up early Saturday morning to enjoy a day of fun and sun at Myrtle Beach as part of Beach Blast 2013.

This is just a way of saying good job. said Dick Keffer who first thought of the idea.

He said it began as a thought of helping children, many of whom will not normally get the chance to go the beach.

I saw some school kids on their way to Whitesville (beach) on an old rickety bus and I thought I can do something.

That was 27 years ago.

Along with the Charlotte Rotarian's they have been sending kids to the beach for a quarter of a century.

This is the 25th year that Charlotte businessman, Dick Keffer has made it possible for students who have excelled in the classroom academically and exhibited good behavior.

My friends always talk about the beach and now I'll get to go for my first time... this is really cool. said one student from Ransom middle school.

Along for this year's trip is Carolina Panther Wide Receiver Armanti Edwards who attended college at Appalachian State University.

When Mr. Keffer asked me I said I would love to go .. anytime you can help reward 500 deserving kids it s a great deal. said Edwards who took his wife and two children along on the trip.

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