Thanks to a bunch of Internet pranksters, the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Allston is $50,000 richer. The local public school made national news in August when Internet trolls on 4chan and Reddit began nominating Horace Mann to win a Papa John’s and Chegg-sponsored contest that would send pop singer Taylor Swift to perform at the school with the most Facebook votes. Thousands of people began voting for Horace Mann to increase the school’s chances. Some votes came from the 4chan users who thought it’d be funny to send Swift to perform for deaf students. Others found the 4chan campaign offensive but decided to boost the school for the sake of the Allston students who would be ecstatic to get the Swift show. When the contest began and Horace Mann administrators heard about the prank, Horace Mann’s principal/headmaster Jeremiah Ford told us that his students love live music and that he’d be happy if the school won the contest, even if mean-spirited people fueled the win. He said he’d also be pleased if the school was a runner-up. After all, Chegg, a textbook company, and Papa John’s said that the top five schools in the contest would all receive $10,000.
Ford confirmed yesterday that the winners of the contest had been chosen, but that Swift, Papa John’s, and Chegg decided to remove Horace Mann from the running because of the way it got its votes. Instead, Swift decided to give the school a personal donation of $10,000, which was matched by the two sponsor companies as well as Cover Girl and American Greetings. VH1’s Save the Music program has also decided to give Horace Mann another $10,000 in instruments for students. Not only that, Swift says that every student at Horace Mann will get a ticket to her next local show. “Are we the winner? Absolutely,” Ford told us, yesterday.