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Taylor Swift Brushes Off Mean Internet Prank With Generous Donation to School for the Deaf

Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Taylor Swift has turned the tables on ill-intentioned internet pranksters, resulting in a big win for some much deserving students at a school for the deaf.

It all began with a contest sponsored by Papa John’s and Chegg, a textbook company, in which Facebook voters got to determine which school would win a concert from the ‘Begin Again’ singer. In a mean-spirited prank, a group of posters on 4chan started a campaign to vote for the Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Allston, Mass. The campaign was a variation of a similar internet prank that resulted in rapper Pitbull performing at a Walmart in Alaska.

Voters from Reddit joined in, but the movement soon began to change as other users began to support the school in earnest, believing Swift’s visit would truly be beneficial for the students.

“I’m always amazed at what the hearing impaired population can perceive by way of rhythmic vibration,” one Reddit user posted (quote via “Sure this is meant tongue-in-cheek but I bet she comes up with something amazing to perform to them. Plus she’s a star to kids so I’m sure on some level just her being around is inspiration.”

Horace Mann headmaster Jeremiah Ford said he welcomed the campaign, noting that his school would receive $10,000 if it wound up placing in the top five schools in overall votes. On Monday, he confirmed that Horace Mann had been disqualified from the contest as a result of the prank, but in a classic case of ‘all’s well that ends well,’ big-hearted Swift decided to make it up to the school by personally donating $10,000. The contest’s sponsors each matched that amount, as did Cover Girl and American Greetings — meaning that Horace Mann received a total of $50,000 in donations as a result of the internet campaign. On top of that, VH1’s Save the Music program donated $10,000 worth of musical instruments to the school for the deaf.

And if that wasn’t enough, Swift has also ensured that all of Horace Mann’s students will get free tickets to her next Boston-area concert.

Summarizing how the school has benefited from Swift’s generosity, headmaster Ford said Monday, “Are we the winner? Absolutely.”

Next: Which Taylor Swift Song Is One of the Best Country Songs Ever?

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